I held a jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep.
The day was warm, and winds were prosy;
I said: "'T will keep."
I woke and chid my honest fingers, --
The gem was gone;
And now an amethyst remembrance
Is all I own.

There is a shame of nobleness
Confronting sudden pelf, --
A finer shame of ecstasy
Convicted of itself.
A best disgrace a brave man feels,
Acknowledged of the brave, --
One more "Ye Blessed" to be told;
But this involves the grave.
Triumph may be of several kinds.
There 's triumph in the room
When that old imperator, Death,
By faith is overcome.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
I bring an unaccustomed wine
To lips long parching, next to mine,
And summon them to drink.
Crackling with fever, they essay;
I turn my brimming eyes away,
And come next hour to look.
The hands still hug the tardy glass;
The lips I would have cooled, alas!
Are so superfluous cold,

Not with a club the heart is broken,
Nor with a stone;
A whip, so small you could not see it.
I've known
To lash the magic creature
Till it fell,
Yet that whip's name too noble
Then to tell.

To stay the homesick, homesick feet
Upon a foreign shore
Haunted by native lands, the while,
And blue, beloved air --
This is the sovereign anguish,
This, the signal woe!
These are the patient laureates
Whose voices, trained below,

I think just how my shape will rise
When I shall be forgiven,
Till hair and eyes and timid head
Are out of sight, in heaven.
I think just how my lips will weigh
With shapeless, quivering prayer
That you, so late, consider me,
The sparrow of your care.
I mind me that of anguish sent,
Some drifts were moved away
Before my simple bosom broke, --
And why not this, if they?

Never did she lisp it,
And 't was not for me;
She was mute from transport,
I, from agony!
Till the evening, nearing,
One the shutters drew --
Quick! a sharper rustling!
And this linnet flew!
A death-blow is a life-blow to some
Who, till they died, did not alive become;
Who, had they lived, had died, but when
They died, vitality begun.

I wonder if when years have piled --
Some thousands -- on the cause
Of early hurt, if such a lapse
Could give them any pause;
Or would they go on aching still
Through centuries above,
Enlightened to a larger pain
By contrast with the love.
The grieved are many, I am told;
The reason deeper lies, --
Death is but one and comes but once,
And only nails the eyes.

To learn the transport by the pain,
As blind men learn the sun;
To die of thirst, suspecting
That brooks in meadows run;
To stay the homesick, homesick feet
Upon a foreign shore
Haunted by native lands, the while,
And blue, beloved air --
This is the sovereign anguish,
This, the signal woe!
These are the patient laureates
Whose voices, trained below,

I had no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.
Nor had I time to love; but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.
'T was such a little, little boat
That toddled down the bay!
'T was such a gallant, gallant sea
That beckoned it away!

Remorse is memory awake,
Her companies astir, --
A presence of departed acts
At window and at door.
It's past set down before the soul,
And lighted with a match,
Perusal to facilitate
Of its condensed despatch.

I mind me that of anguish sent,
Some drifts were moved away
Before my simple bosom broke, --
And why not this, if they?
And so, until delirious borne
I con that thing, -- "forgiven," --
Till with long fright and longer trust
I drop my heart, unshriven!
After a hundred years
Nobody knows the place, --
Agony, that enacted there,
Motionless as peace.

Nor had I time to love; but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.
'T was such a little, little boat
That toddled down the bay!
'T was such a gallant, gallant sea
That beckoned it away!
'T was such a greedy, greedy wave
That licked it from the coast;
Nor ever guessed the stately sails
My little craft was lost!

A fan, perhaps, a friend's regret,
And certainly that one
No color in the rainbow
Perceives when you are gone.
There's something quieter than sleep
Within this inner room!
It wears a sprig upon its breast,
And will not tell its name.
Some touch it and some kiss it,
Some chafe its idle hand;
It has a simple gravity
I do not understand!

For whom I robbed the dingle,
For whom betrayed the dell,
Many will doubtless ask me,
But I shall never tell!
It makes no difference abroad,
The seasons fit the same,
The mornings blossom into noons,
And split their pods of flame.

A door just opened on a street --
I, lost, was passing by --
An instant's width of warmth disclosed,
And wealth, and company.
The door as sudden shut, and I,
I, lost, was passing by, --
Lost doubly, but by contrast most,
Enlightening misery.
Are friends delight or pain?
Could bounty but remain
Riches were good.

In the silent west
Many sails at rest,
Their anchors fast;
Thither I pilot thee, --
Land, ho! Eternity!
Ashore at last!

I read my sentence steadily,
Reviewed it with my eyes,
To see that I made no mistake
In its extremest clause, --
The date, and manner of the shame;
And then the pious form
That "God have mercy" on the soul
The jury voted him.

Neither decree
Prohibits him,
Lawful as
Equilibrium.
Frequently the woods are pink,
Frequently are brown;
Frequently the hills undress
Behind my native town.

Perhaps the kingdom of Heaven 's changed!
I hope the children there
Won't be new-fashioned when I come,
And laugh at me, and stare!
I hope the father in the skies
Will lift his little girl, --
Old-fashioned, naughty, everything, --
Over the stile of pearl!

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