My Grave

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1850–1919
If, when I die, I must be buried, let
No cemetery engulph me — no lone grot,
Where the great palpitating world comes not,
Save when, with heart bowed down and eyelids wet,
It pays its last sad melancholy debt
To some outjourneying pilgrim. May my lot
Be rather to lie in some much-used spot,
Where human life, with all its noise and fret,
Throbs on about me. Let the roll of wheels,
With all earth’s sounds of pleasure, commerce, love,
And rush of hurrying feet surge o’er my head.
Even in my grave I shall be one who feels
Close kinship with the pulsing world above;
And too deep silence would distress me, dead.

Source: She Wields a Pen: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century (University of Iowa Press, 1997)

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Poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1850–1919

Subjects Living, Death

Occasions Funerals

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Biography

Ella Wheeler Wilcox was born in Johnstown, Wisconsin and her poetry was being published by the time she graduated from high school. Her poetry was very popular, generally written in plain, rhyming verse. Her works include Poems of Passion (1883), A Woman of the World (1904), Poems of Peace (1906), Poems of Experience (1910), and Poems (1919).

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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