The pen is still, the ink is black
The old man's hand and head are slack.
He's sitting at his desk of wood
The writing desk is rough and crude.
How long has he been sitting there?
With wrinkled face and uncombed hair?
Why don't his children come and call?
Looks like they haven't come at all.
He had a wife, or so it seems
The gold band on his finger gleams.
But if he had a wife and child,
They haven't come in quite a while.
Underneath his arms there lies
An old brown paper that was white
When snow fell down and trees were bare
Before the sun shone bright and glared
Upon the earth which soon forgot
This aged man whom God begot.
Upon the paper lay the words
That none but he have ever heard
When he murmured them so low
To himself so soft and slow.
Before he came to face his death
To breathe his very final breath.
"My dearest wife, my dearest child,
I've been away for quite a while.
Upon the ocean, sailing fast
To come back home to you at last.
To find you here so safe and sound!
But you, dear wife, I never found."
He'd formed the words with trembling tears
He'd been away so many years!
His hair once red had turned to gray
Why should she wait? Why should she stay?
She prob'ly thought him dead and gone
To that fair land where all is dawn.
"Oh my dear wife, I've loved you yet!
I've loved you under each sunset!
I've dreamt of you from first to last,
My dreams of you still holding fast!
Through every storm through every sigh!
I've watched the earth go rolling by. "
Gretchen Emily Wolaver