The Bars of Fate ~ Ellen Gates

I stood before the bars of Fate
  And bowed my head disconsolate;
  So high they seemed, so fierce their frown.
  I thought no hand could break them down.

  Beyond them I could hear the songs
  Of valiant men who marched in throngs;
  And joyful women, fair and free,
  Looked back and waved their hands to me.

  I did not cry “Too late! too late!”
  Or strive to rise, or rail at Fate,
  Or pray to God. My coward heart,
  Contented, played its foolish part.

So still I sat, the tireless bee
  Sped o’er my head, with scorn for me,
  And birds who build their nests in air
  Beheld me, as I were not there.

  From twig to twig, before my face,
  The spiders wove their curious lace,
  As they a curtain fine would see
  Between the hindering bars and me.

  Then, sudden change! I heard the call
  Of wind and wave and waterfall;
  From heaven above and earth below
  A clear command—”ARISE AND GO!”

  I upward sprang in all my strength,
  And stretched my eager hands at length
  To break the bars—no bars were there;
  My fingers fell through empty air!

Ellen M.H. Gates

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