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Death is like the insect
Menacing the tree,
Competent to kill it,
But decoyed may be.
Bait it with the balsam,
Seek it with the knife,
Baffle, if it cost you
Everything in life.

We outgrow love like other things
And put it in the drawer,
Till it an antique fashion shows
Like costumes grandsires wore.
Not with a club the heart is broken,
Nor with a stone;
A whip, so small you could not see it.
I've known

The wizard-fingers never rest,
The purple brook within the breast
Still chafes its narrow bed;
Still rears the East her amber flag,
Guides still the sun along the crag
His caravan of red,
Like flowers that heard the tale of dews,
But never deemed the dripping prize
Awaited their low brows;
Or bees, that thought the summer's name
Some rumor of delirium
No summer could for them;

I cannot live with you,
It would be life,
And life is over there
Behind the shelf
The sexton keeps the key to,
Putting up
Our life, his porcelain,
Like a cup

I never hear the word "escape"
Without a quicker blood,
A sudden expectation,
A flying attitude.
I never hear of prisons broad
By soldiers battered down,
But I tug childish at my bars, --
Only to fail again!

Surgeons must be very careful
When they take the knife!
Underneath their fine incisions
Stirs the culprit, -- Life!
I like to see it lap the miles,
And lick the valleys up,
And stop to feed itself at tanks;
And then, prodigious, step

Faith is a fine invention
For gentlemen who see;
But microscopes are prudent
In an emergency!
Except the heaven had come so near,
So seemed to choose my door,
The distance would not haunt me so;
I had not hoped before.
But just to hear the grace depart
I never thought to see,
Afflicts me with a double loss;
'T is lost, and lost to me.

They dropped like flakes, they dropped like stars,
Like petals from a rose,
When suddenly across the June
A wind with fingers goes.
They perished in the seamless grass, --
No eye could find the place;
But God on his repealless list
Can summon every face.

The wind pursued the little bush,
And drove away the leaves
November left; then clambered up
And fretted in the eaves.
No squirrel went abroad;
A dog's belated feet
Like intermittent plush were heard
Adown the empty street.
To feel if blinds be fast,
And closer to the fire
Her little rocking-chair to draw,
And shiver for the poor,

I waked, to find it first awake,
I rose, -- it followed me;
I tried to drop it in the crowd,
To lose it in the sea,
In cups of artificial drowse
To sleep its shape away, --
The grave was finished, but the spade
Remained in memory.
I felt a funeral in my brain,
And mourners, to and fro,
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
That sense was breaking through.

Drab habitation of whom?
Tabernacle or tomb,
Or dome of worm,
Or porch of gnome,
Or some elf's catacomb?
A sloop of amber slips away
Upon an ether sea,
And wrecks in peace a purple tar,
The son of ecstasy.

I wonder if the sepulchre
Is not a lonesome way,
When men and boys, and larks and June
Go down the fields to hay!
If tolling bell I ask the cause.
'A soul has gone to God,'
I'm answered in a lonesome tone;
Is heaven then so sad?

I envy seas whereon he rides,
I envy spokes of wheels
Of chariots that him convey,
I envy speechless hills
That gaze upon his journey;
How easy all can see
What is forbidden utterly
As heaven, unto me!
I envy nests of sparrows
That dot his distant eaves,
The wealthy fly upon his pane,
The happy, happy leaves

We learn in the retreating
How vast an one
Was recently among us.
A perished sun
Endears in the departure
How doubly more
Than all the golden presence
It was before!
They say that 'time assuages,' --
Time never did assuage;
An actual suffering strengthens,
As sinews do, with age.

But if there were a Jason,
Tradition suffer me
Behold his lost emolument
Upon the apple-tree.
I dreaded that first robin so,
But he is mastered now,
And I 'm accustomed to him grown, --
He hurts a little, though.
I thought if I could only live
Till that first shout got by,
Not all pianos in the woods
Had power to mangle me.

With infinite affection
And infiniter care,
Her golden finger on her lip,
Wills silence everywhere.
Will there really be a morning?
Is there such a thing as day?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?

'T is so much joy! 'T is so much joy!
If I should fail, what poverty!
And yet, as poor as I
Have ventured all upon a throw;
Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so
This side the victory!
Life is but life, and death but death!
Bliss is but bliss, and breath but breath!
And if, indeed, I fail,
At least to know the worst is sweet.
Defeat means nothing but defeat,
No drearier can prevail!

Immortal is an ample word
When what we need is by,
But when it leaves us for a time,
'T is a necessity.
Of heaven above the firmest proof
We fundamental know,
Except for its marauding hand,
It had been heaven below.

I envy nests of sparrows
That dot his distant eaves,
The wealthy fly upon his pane,
The happy, happy leaves
That just abroad his window
Have summer's leave to be,
The earrings of Pizarro
Could not obtain for me.
I envy light that wakes him,
And bells that boldly ring
To tell him it is noon abroad, --
Myself his noon could bring,

Poor little heart!
Did they forget thee?
Then dinna care! Then dinna care!
Proud little heart!
Did they forsake thee?
Be debonair! Be debonair!
Frail little heart!
I would not break thee:
Could'st credit me? Could'st credit me?
Gay little heart!
Like morning glory
Thou'll wilted be; thou'll wilted be!

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