Here, faithful readers, is a poem taken from a newspaper column in the women’s section of an 1890s San Francisco Chronicle title “Behind The Mask” by Nora Perry–an American poet and journalist who wrote for the Chicago Tribune. It is for the lonely ones who know not what they do.
“‘She speaks and smiles the gay old way
She is the same as yesterday,’
You turn and say.
The same as yesterday, before
The dark-winged angel at her door
Entered and bore
The treasure of her life away;
‘The same, the same as yesterday.’
And as you say
These questioning words with questioning tone,
Apart from you and quite alone
She makes her moan;
She does not dare to trust her woe
To break its bonds, her tears to flow
In outward show,
Lest, like a giant in her life,
This woe should rise to stronger life
And fiercer strife.
So, wearing on her face the guise
Of olden smiles, with tearless eyes
She dumbly tries
To lift her burden to the light,
To live by faith and not by sight,
And from the night
Of new despair and wasting grief
At last, at last to find relief
Even as she stands before you there
With all the old accustomed air,
The smiles that wear
The mirthful mask of yesterday.
She stands alone and far away
She stands alone and quite apart,
With mirth and song her aching heart
Has lot nor part.
The while your criticize her air
Of gay repose, pierced with despair
She does not dare
To speak aloud her bitterness,
To tell you of her loneliness
And sore distress.”