The Poetry Corner

The Mystery

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

I was not; now I am--a few days hence I shall not be; I fain would look before And after, but can neither do; some Power Or lack of power says "no" to all I would. I stand upon a wide and sunless plain, Nor chart nor steel to guide my steps aright. Whene'er, o'ercoming fear, I dare to move, I grope without direction and by chance. Some feign to hear a voice and feel a hand That draws them ever upward thro' the gloom. But I--I hear no voice and touch no hand, Tho' oft thro' silence infinite I list, And strain my hearing to supernal sounds; Tho' oft thro' fateful darkness do I reach, And stretch my hand to find that other hand. I question of th' eternal bending skies That seem to neighbor with the novice earth; But they roll on, and daily shut their eyes On me, as I one day shall do on them, And tell me not the secret that I ask.