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