Sister and I by Author Unknown

We were hunting for wintergreen berries,
One May-day, long gone by,
Out on the rocky cliff’s edge,
Little sister and I.
Sister had hair like the sunbeams;
Black as a crow’s wing, mine;
Sister had blue, dove’s eyes;
Wicked, black eyes are mine.
Why, see how my eyes are faded—
And my hair, it is white as snow!
And thin, too! don’t you see it is?
I tear it sometimes; so!
There, don’t hold my hands, Maggie,
I don’t feel like tearing it now;
But—where was I in my story?
Oh, I was telling you how
We were looking for wintergreen berries;
‘Twas one bright morning in May,
And the moss-grown rocks were slippery
With the rains of yesterday.
But I was cross that morning,
Though the sun shone ever so bright—
And when sister found the most berries,
I was angry enough to fight!
And when she laughed at my pouting—
We were little things, you know—
I clinched my little fist up tight,
And struck her the biggest blow!
I struck her—I tell you—I struck her,
And she fell right over below—
There, there, Maggie, I won’t rave now;
You needn’t hold me so—
She went right over, I tell you,
Down, down to the depths below!
‘Tis deep and dark and horrid
There where the waters flow!
She fell right over, moaning,
“Bessie, oh, Bessie!” so sad,
That, when I looked down affrighted,
It drove me mad—mad!
Only her golden hair streaming
Out on the rippling wave,
Only her little hand reaching
Up, for someone to save;
And she sank down in the darkness,
I never saw her again,
And this is a chaos of blackness
And darkness and grief since then.
No more playing together
Down on the pebbly strand;
Nor building our dolls stone castles
With halls and parlors grand;
No more fishing with bent pins,
In the little brook’s clear waves;
No more holding funerals
O’er dead canaries’ graves;
No more walking together
To the log schoolhouse each morn;
No more vexing the master
With putting his rules to scorn;
No more feeding of white lambs
With milk from the foaming pail;
No more playing “see-saw”
Over the fence of rail;
No more telling of stories
After we’ve gone to bed;
Nor talking of ghosts and goblins
Till we fairly shiver with dread;
No more whispering fearfully
And hugging each other tight,
When the shutters shake and the dogs howl
In the middle of the night;
No more saying “Our Father,”
Kneeling by mother’s knee—
For, Maggie, I struck sister!
And mother is dead, you see.
Maggie, sister’s an angel,
Isn’t she? Isn’t it true?
For angels have golden tresses
And eyes like sister’s, blue?
Now my hair isn’t golden,
My eyes aren’t blue, you see—
Now tell me, Maggie, if I were to die,
Could they make an angel of me?
You say, “Oh, yes”; you think so?
Well, then, when I come to die,
We’ll play up there, in God’s garden—
We’ll play there, sister and I.
Now, Maggie, you needn’t eye me
Because I’m talking so queer;
Because I’m talking so strangely;
You needn’t have the least fear,
Somehow I’m feeling to-night, Maggie,
As I never felt before—
I’m sure, I’m sure of it, Maggie,
I never shall rave any more.
Maggie, you know how these long years
I’ve heard her calling, so sad,
“Bessie, oh, Bessie!” so mournful?
It always drives me mad!
How the winter wind shrieks down the chimney,
“Bessie, oh, Bessie!” oh! oh!
How the south wind wails at the casement,
“Bessie, oh, Bessie!” so low,
But most of all when the May-days
Come back, with the flowers and the sun,
How the night-bird, singing, all lonely,
“Bessie, oh, Bessie!” doth moan;
You know how it sets me raving—
For she moaned, “Oh, Bessie!” just so,
That time I struck little sister,
On the May-day long ago!
Now, Maggie, I’ve something to tell you—
You know May-day is here—
Well, this very morning, at sunrise,
The robins chirped “Bessie!” so clear—
All day long the wee birds singing,
Perched on the garden wall,
Called “Bessie, oh, Bessie!” so sweetly,
I couldn’t feel sorry at all.
Now, Maggie, I’ve something to tell you—
Let me lean up to you close—
Do you see how the sunset has flooded
The heavens with yellow and rose?
Do you see o’er the gilded cloud mountains
Sister’s golden hair streaming out?
Do you see her little hand beckoning?
Do you hear her little voice calling out
“Bessie, oh, Bessie!” so gladly,
“Bessie, oh, Bessie! Come, haste”?
Yes, sister, I’m coming; I’m coming,
To play in God’s garden at last!