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A Sunbeam

The sun was hid all day by clouds,
  The rain fell softly down;
A cold gray mist hung o'er the earth,
  And veiled the silent town.
Behind the clouds a sunbeam crept
  With restless wings of gold;
The skies above were bright and warm,
  The earth below was cold.
It glanced along the heavy clouds,
  Then sought to glide between;
But ah! they gathered closer still,
  With fierce and angry mien.
The dancing ray grew strangely still,
  Just like some weary bird,
That droops upon a lonely shore,
  And sings its song unheard.
For on the earth the drooping flowers
  Were longing for the light;
And children with their watching eyes
  Could trace no sunbeam's flight.
At last an angel, wand'ring by,
  With snowy wings outspread,
Beheld the sunbeam sad at heart,
  And passing by she said:
"Why wait you here above the clouds,
  The earth has need of you;
Spread out your wings, speed quickly on
  And pierce the vapor through."
But still the sunbeam mournfully
  Gazed on the gloom below;
Then looked up in the spirit's face
  With softened, anxious glow.
The angel smiled, the clouds gave way
  And drifted far apart;
And lo! the glory of that smile
  Fell on each earthly heart.
Then quickly through the widening rift
  The sunbeam drifted down;
A ray of gold fell through the mist
  Upon the silent town.
Two weary eyes beheld its light,
  Then closed forevermore;
A soul passed through the rift of blue
  And reached the farther shore.
One moment o'er the wan, white face
  A ray of glory fell;
Then shadows came, the sunbeam fled;
  Its future who can tell?
Once more the clouds enwrapped the earth,
  The rain fell softly down;
A cold, gray mist hung o'er the hills
  And veiled the silent town.

Poem by Fannie Isabelle Sherrick
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