I loved light ever, light in eye and brain —
No tapers mirrored in long palace floors,
Nor dedicated depths of silent aisles,
But just the common dusty wind-blown day
That roofs earth’s millions.
— Edith Wharton is 161 years old today
In this poem she gives up on having any new ideas. After all, she’s 51 years old.
For thus I read the meaning of this end:
There are two ways of spreading light; to be
The candle or the mirror that reflects it.
I let my wick burn out — there yet remains
To spread an answering surface to the flame
That others kindle.
________________Turn me in my bed.
The window darkens as the hours swing round;
But yonder, look, the other casement glows!
Let me face westward as my sun goes down.