Born: May 7, 1842, Rochester, New York.
Died: January 14, 1927, Manhattan, New York.
Smith attended the Tracey Female Institute in Rochester, and the Collegiate Institute in Brockport, New York.
She married Albert Smith of Springfield, Illinois, in 1869. They were living in New York state in 1910.
Trembling she stood at the heavenly door—
The world around her was strange and new;
She had come through the dark from the earthly shore.
And how should a pilgrim know what to do—
Whether to knock, or whether to wait,
When she finds herself at the shining Gate?
Thou hast crossed the Valley, an angel said,
Touching the pilgrim’s dampened hair—
The lonely valley which travelers dread,
As hither they wind from the land of Care.
Wouldst thou greet the King? Dost wear His sign?
Hast thou steadfast held to Thy faith and shrine?
It is many a year, the pilgrim sighed,
“Since I have thought upon faith and creed;
The burdened and poor at my threshold cried;
Had I time to study my lesser need?
And when I would pray for my own soul’s good,
They interrupted with cries for food.
I should lift my head from the Father’s breast,
If I were in heaven, and heard their cry;
How could I selfishly take my rest,
Thinking of wearier ones than I?
I would slip from the ranks of the undefiled
To comfort the woes of a little child!
Peace! Has the Father forsaken His throne?
The angel answered with stern surprise.
Has His arm grown short, that He needs thy own—
Have the woes of the world escaped His eyes?
But see! the Master Himself draws near—
Thy foolish story hath reached His ear.
The woman lifted her troubled brow,
And the mists of earth from her spirit fell;
No stranger’s face did she gaze on now—
She knew the Christ; she had loved Him well;
She had met those eyes, with their tender grace,
On the earth in many a suffering face!
They had often looked from a beggar’s hood,
From under a motherless baby’s hair;
They had pierced her often, reproached her, wooed—
Had beckoned her here, had followed her there;
In many and many a strange disguise
She had met the gaze of those pleading eyes!
His voice was sweet to the tired one;
His touch was balm to her down-bent head—
What thou to the least of My poor hast done, He gently said.
Thou hast done unto Me,
In My Father’s house there are many rooms;
And He led her in from the earthly glooms.
May Riley Smith
Sometime and Other Poems, 1893
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