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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

In the Slant o’ the Sun

By Amelia Walstien Carpenter (b. 1840)

[Born in Stephentown, Rensselaer Co., N. Y., 1840.]

THE HOMELY country scent of musk

Was in the air that past her blew;

The sunflower seeds fell from their husk,

Black moths and white about her flew;

The gentlest life! O sweet and true,

The sweetest soul earth ever knew

Left here, lone in the lonely dusk!

She pins her faded knitting sheath

With wrinkled hands that tremble still;

Below her white hair’s crowning wreath

Her aching eyes with slow tears fill;

Slow gathered tears that drop until

They seem like other words that breathe

The cry—“Lord! Lord! do thou thy will!”

Again she lifts the sacred book—

She holds it to her aching eyes:

What stress was e’er that He forsook?

“Lord! Lord!” the sufferer cries

(The Lord that he denies—

The Lord he crucifies).

Down from his cross He turns his look—

“To-night—in Paradise!”

Still in the long slant of the sun

The watcher keeps her lonely seat;

Farther the darkening shadows run

And closer gather at her feet.

The day’s long toils cease, one by one—

She hears the passing laborers greet;

“Lord! Lord!” her hands in pleading meet—

“Save her! and yet—Thy will be done!

“Lord! should she come to me once more,

To-night,—come from her darkened way—

Yea, should she pause here at my door,

Wouldst Thou not bid me bid her stay?

(Lord—Lord—for this I pray)—

Shepherd, Thy word went long before,

‘I seek for them that stray

Far from the fold away!’”

The moth above the sunflower wheels,

The lingering light drops from the skies,

The village bell in music peals,

While in the west the sunset dies.

But lo! what shape is this that steals

From out the dusk?—that comes and kneels

And peers into the glazing eyes?

Oh late! too late! Oh woful cries!

O faithful soul! Oh true and wise!—

“To-night!—to-night—in Paradise!”