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Sarah Orne Jewett

My life seems like a book that's read and put up on the shelf;
I used to be a hurrying round; I don't feel like myself;
Sometimes I'm tired of keeping still. I want to be at work;
I see so many things to do and I don't like to shirk.

I used to have to toil and plan, and now I have to wait,
And I suppose I mustn't fret, but in a future state
I shall be sure to find my place and be some use again,
For there we still shall serve the Lord* -- the Scripture says it plain.

So it's my golden wedding day, though we have been apart
For fifty years, and yet John knows that he has kept my heart,
And I know that he looks for me and waits for me to come;
I've tried to do the best I could -- and here or there it's home.


"Waiting at Fourscore" appeared in The American Advocate of Peace and Arbitration (53,4: 97) May 1891.

serve the Lord: While the value of serving God is spoken of frequently in the Bible, few examples specify how such service continues after one's death. Perhaps the speaker is thinking of Matthew 25:21, in the "parable of the talents," where the "good and faithful" servants become more responsible in a new fellowship with "the master."

Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College, 2017.


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Jewett's Poems Contents