Awake ye muses nine, sing me a strain divine,
Unwind the solemn twine, and tie my Valentine!
Oh the Earth was made for lovers, for damsel, and hopeless swain,
For sighing, and gentle whispering, and unity made of twain.
All things do go a courting, in earth, or sea, or air,
God hath made nothing single but thee in His world so fair!
The bride, and then the bridegroom, the two, and then the one,
Adam, and Eve, his consort, the moon, and then the sun;
The life doth prove the precept, who obey shall happy be,
Who will not serve the sovereign, be hanged on fatal tree.
The high do seek the lowly, the great do seek the small,
None cannot find who seeketh, on this terrestrial ball;
The bee doth court the flower, the flower his suit receives,
And they make merry wedding, whose guests are hundred leaves;
The wind doth woo the branches, the branches they are won,
And the father fond demandeth the maiden for his son.
The storm doth walk the seashore humming a mournful tune,
The wave with eye so pensive, looketh to see the moon,
Their spirits meet together, they make their solemn vows,
No more he singeth mournful, her sadness she doth lose.
The worm doth woo the mortal, death claims a living bride,
Night unto day is married, morn unto eventide;
Earth is a merry damsel, and heaven a knight so true,
And Earth is quite coquettish, and beseemeth in vain to sue.
Now to the application, to the reading of the roll,
To bringing thee to justice, and marshalling thy soul:
Thou art a human solo, a being cold, and lone,
Wilt have no kind companion, thou reap'st what thou hast sown.
Hast never silent hours, and minutes all too long,
And a deal of sad reflection, and wailing instead of song?
There's Sarah, and Eliza, and Emeline so fair,
And Harriet, and Susan, and she with curling hair!
Thine eyes are sadly blinded, but yet thou mayest see
Six true, and comely maidens sitting upon the tree;
Approach that tree with caution, then up it boldly climb,
And seize the one thou lovest, nor care for space, or time!
Then bear her to the greenwood, and build for her a bower,
And give her what she asketh, jewel, or bird, or flower --
And bring the fife, and trumpet, and beat upon the drum --
And bid the world Goodmorrow, and go to glory home!
There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields --
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!
"Sic transit gloria mundi,"
"How doth the busy bee,"
"Dum vivimus vivamus,"
I stay mine enemy!
Oh "veni, vidi, vici!"
Oh caput cap-a-pie!
And oh "memento mori"
When I am far from thee!
Hurrah for Peter Parley!
Hurrah for Daniel Boone!
Three cheers, sir, for the gentleman
Who first observed the moon!
Peter, put up the sunshine;
Patti, arrange the stars;
Tell Luna, tea is waiting,
And call your brother Mars!
Put down the apple, Adam,
And come away with me,
So shalt thou have a pippin
From off my father's tree!
I climb the "Hill of Science,"
I "view the landscape o'er;"
Such transcendental prospect,
I ne'er beheld before!
Unto the Legislature
My country bids me go;
I'll take my india rubbers,
In case the wind should blow!
During my education,
It was announced to me
That gravitation, stumbling,
Fell from an apple tree!
The earth upon an axis
Was once supposed to turn,
By way of a gymnastic
In honor of the sun!
It was the brave Columbus,
A sailing o'er the tide,
Who notified the nations
Of where I would reside!
Mortality is fatal --
Gentility is fine,
Our Fathers being weary,
Laid down on Bunker Hill;
And tho' full many a morning,
Yet they are sleeping still, --
The trumpet, sir, shall wake them,
In dreams I see them rise,
Each with a solemn musket
A marching to the skies!
A coward will remain, Sir,
Until the fight is done;
But an immortal hero
Will take his hat, and run!
Good bye, Sir, I am going;
My country calleth me;
Allow me, Sir, at parting,
To wipe my weeping e'e.
In token of our friendship
Accept this "Bonnie Doon,"
And when the hand that plucked it
Hath passed beyond the moon,
The memory of my ashes
Will consolation be;
Then, farewell, Tuscarora,
And farewell, Sir, to thee!
On this wondrous sea
Ho! Pilot, ho!
Knowest thou the shore
Where no breakers roar --
Where the storm is o'er?
In the peaceful west
Many the sails at rest --
The anchors fast --
Thither I pilot thee --
Land Ho! Eternity!
Ashore at last!
I have a Bird in spring
Which for myself doth sing --
The spring decoys.
And as the summer nears --
And as the Rose appears,
Robin is gone.
Yet do I not repine
Knowing that Bird of mine
Though flown --
Learneth beyond the sea
Melody new for me
And will return.
Fast is a safer hand
Held in a truer Land
Are mine --
And though they now depart,
Tell I my doubting heart
In a serener Bright,
In a more golden light
Each little doubt and fear,
Each little discord here
Then will I not repine,
Knowing that Bird of mine
Shall in a distant tree
Bright melody for me
Frequently the wood are pink --
Frequently are brown.
Frequently the hills undress
Behind my native town.
Oft a head is crested
I was wont to see --
And as oft a cranny
Where it used to be --
And the Earth -- they tell me --
On its Axis turned!
By but twelve performed!
The feet of people walking home
With gayer sandals go --
The Crocus -- til she rises
The Vassal of the snow --
The lips at Hallelujah
Long years of practise bore
Til bye and bye these Bargemen
Walked singing on the shore.
Pearls are the Diver's farthings
Extorted from the Sea --
Pinions -- the Seraph's wagon
Pedestrian once -- as we --
Night is the morning's Canvas
Larceny -- legacy --
Death, but our rapt attention
My figures fail to tell me
How far the Village lies --
Whose peasants are the Angels --
Whose Cantons dot the skies --
My Classics veil their faces --
My faith that Dark adores --
Which from its solemn abbeys
Such ressurection pours.
There is a word
Which bears a sword
Can pierce an armed man --
It hurls its barbed syllables
And is mute again --
But where it fell
The saved will tell
On patriotic day,
Some epauletted Brother
Gave his breath away.
Wherever runs the breathless sun --
Wherever roams the day --
There is its noiseless onset --
There is its victory!
Behold the keenest marksman!
The most accomplished shot!
Time's sublimest target
Is a soul "forgot!"
Through lane it lay -- through bramble --
Through clearing and through wood --
Banditti often passed us
Upon the lonely road.
The wolf came peering curious --
The owl looked puzzled down --
The serpent's satin figure
Glid stealthily along --
The tempests touched our garments --
The lightning's poinards gleamed --
Fierce from the Crag above us
The hungry Vulture screamed --
The satyr's fingers beckoned --
The valley murmured "Come" --
These were the mates --
This was the road
Those children fluttered home.
My wheel is in the dark!
I cannot see a spoke
Yet know its dripping feet
Go round and round.
My foot is on the Tide!
An unfrequented road --
Yet have all roads
A clearing at the end --
Some have resigned the Loom --
Some in the busy tomb
Find quaint employ --
Some with new -- stately feet --
Pass royal through the gate --
Flinging the problem back
At you and I!
I never told the buried gold
Upon the hill -- that lies --
I saw the sun -- his plunder done
Crouch low to guard his prize.
He stood as near
As stood you here --
A pace had been between --
Did but a snake bisect the brake
My life had forfeit been.
That was a wondrous booty --
I hope 'twas honest gained.
Those were the fairest ingots
That ever kissed the spade!
Whether to keep the secret --
Whether to reveal --
Whether as I ponder
Kidd will sudden sail --
Could a shrewd advise me
We might e'en divide --
Should a shrewd betray me --
The morns are meeker than they were --
The nuts are getting brown --
The berry's cheek is plumper --
The Rose is out of town.
The Maple wears a gayer scarf --
The field a scarlet gown --
Lest I should be old fashioned
I'll put a trinket on.
Sleep is supposed to be
By souls of sanity
The shutting of the eye.
Sleep is the station grand
Down which, on either hand
The hosts of witness stand!
Morn is supposed to be
By people of degree
The breaking of the Day.
Morning has not occurred!
That shall Aurora be --
East of Eternity --
One with the banner gay --
One in the red array --
That is the break of Day!
One Sister have I in our house,
And one, a hedge away.
There's only one recorded,
But both belong to me.
One came the road that I came --
And wore my last year's gown --
The other, as a bird her nest,
Builded our hearts among.
She did not sing as we did --
It was a different tune --
Herself to her a music
As Bumble bee of June.
Today is far from Childhood --
But up and down the hills
I held her hand the tighter --
Which shortened all the miles --
And still her hum
The years among,
Deceives the Butterfly;
Still in her Eye
The Violets lie
Mouldered this many May.
I spilt the dew --
But took the morn --
I chose this single star
From out the wide night's numbers --
Sue - forevermore!
The Guest is gold and crimson --
An Opal guest and gray --
Of Ermine is his doublet --
His Capuchin gay --
He reaches town at nightfall --
He stops at every door --
Who looks for him at morning
I pray him too -- explore
The Lark's pure territory --
Or the Lapwing's shore!
I would distil a cup,
And bear to all my friends,
Drinking to her no more astir,
By beck, or burn, or moor!
Baffled for just a day or two --
Embarrassed -- not afraid --
Encounter in my garden
An unexpected Maid.
She beckons, and the woods start --
She nods, and all begin --
Surely, such a country
I was never in!
The Gentian weaves her fringes --
The Maple's loom is red --
My departing blossoms
A brief, but patient illness --
An hour to prepare,
And one below this morning
Is where the angels are --
It was a short procession,
The Bobolink was there --
An aged Bee addressed us --
And then we knelt in prayer --
We trust that she was willing --
We ask that we may be.
Summer -- Sister -- Seraph!
Let us go with thee!
In the name of the Bee --
And of the Butterfly --
And of the Breeze -- Amen!
A sepal, petal, and a thorn
Upon a common summer's morn --
A flask of Dew -- A Bee or two --
A Breeze -- a caper in the trees --
And I'm a Rose!
Distrustful of the Gentian --
And just to turn away,
The fluttering of her fringes
Child my perfidy --
Weary for my ----------
I will singing go --
I shall not feel the sleet -- then --
I shall not fear the snow.
Flees so the phantom meadow
Before the breathless Bee --
So bubble brooks in deserts
On Ears that dying lie --
Burn so the Evening Spires
To Eyes that Closing go --
Hangs so distant Heaven --
To a hand below.
We lose -- because we win --
Gamblers -- recollecting which
Toss their dice again!
All these my banners be.
I sow my pageantry
In May --
It rises train by train --
Then sleeps in state again --
My chancel -- all the plain
To lose -- if one can find again --
To miss -- if one shall meet --
The Burglar cannot rob -- then --
The Broker cannot cheat.
So build the hillocks gaily
Thou little spade of mine
Leaving nooks for Daisy
And for Columbine --
You and I the secret
Of the Crocus know --
Let us chant it softly --
"There is no more snow!"
To him who keeps an Orchis' heart --
The swamps are pink with June.
I had a guinea golden --
I lost it in the sand --
And tho' the sum was simple
And pounds were in the land --
Still, had it such a value
Unto my frugal eye --
That when I could not find it --
I sat me down to sigh.
I had a crimson Robin --
Who sang full many a day
But when the woods were painted,
He, too, did fly away --
Time brought me other Robins --
Their ballads were the same --
Still, for my missing Troubador
I kept the "house at hame."
I had a star in heaven --
One "Pleiad" was its name --
And when I was not heeding,
It wandered from the same.
And tho' the skies are crowded --
And all the night ashine --
I do not care about it --
Since none of them are mine.
My story has a moral --
I have a missing friend --
"Pleiad" its name, and Robin,
And guinea in the sand.
And when this mournful ditty
Accompanied with tear --
Shall meet the eye of traitor
In country far from here --
Grant that repentance solemn
May seize upon his mind --
And he no consolation
Beneath the sun may find.
There is a morn by men unseen --
Whose maids upon remoter green
Keep their Seraphic May --
And all day long, with dance and game,
And gambol I may never name --
Employ their holiday.
Here to light measure, move the feet
Which walk no more the village street --
Nor by the wood are found --
Here are the birds that sought the sun
When last year's distaff idle hung
And summer's brows were bound.
Ne'er saw I such a wondrous scene --
Ne'er such a ring on such a green --
Nor so serene array --
As if the stars some summer night
Should swing their cups of Chrysolite --
And revel till the day --
Like thee to dance -- like thee to sing --
People upon the mystic green --
I ask, each new May Morn.
I wait thy far, fantastic bells --
Unto the different dawn!
She slept beneath a tree --
Remembered but by me.
I touched her Cradle mute --
She recognized the foot --
Put on her suit
It's all I have to bring today --
This, and my heart beside --
This, and my heart, and all the fields --
And all the meadows wide --
Be sure you count -- should I forget
Some one the sum could tell --
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.
Morns like these -- we parted --
Noons like these -- she rose --
Fluttering first -- then firmer
To her fair repose.
Never did she lisp it --
It was not for me --
She -- was mute from transport --
I -- from agony --
Till -- the evening nearing
One the curtains drew --
Quick! A Sharper rustling!
And this linnet flew!
So has a Daisy vanished
From the fields today --
So tiptoed many a slipper
To Paradise away --
Oozed so in crimson bubbles
Day's departing tide --
Blooming -- tripping -- flowing
Are ye then with God?
If those I loved were lost
The Crier's voice would tell me --
If those I loved were found
The bells of Ghent would ring --
Did those I loved repose
The Daisy would impel me.
Philip -- when bewildered
Bore his riddle in!
Adrift! A little boat adrift!
And night is coming down!
Will no one guide a little boat
Unto the nearest town?
So Sailors say -- on yesterday --
Just as the dusk was brown
One little boat gave up its strife
And gurgled down and down.
So angels say -- on yesterday --
Just as the dawn was red
One little boat -- o'erspent with gales --
Retrimmed its masts -- redecked its sails --
And shot -- exultant on!
Summer for thee, grant I may be
When Summer days are flown!
Thy music still, when Whipporwill
And Oriole -- are done!
For thee to bloom, I'll skip the tomb
And row my blossoms o'er!
Pray gather me --
Thy flower -- forevermore!
When Roses cease to bloom, Sir,
And Violets are done --
When Bumblebees in solemn flight
Have passed beyond the Sun --
The hand that paused to gather
Upon this Summer's day
Will idle lie -- in Auburn --
Then take my flowers -- pray!
If recollecting were forgetting,
Then I remember not.
And if forgetting, recollecting,
How near I had forgot.
And if to miss, were merry,
And to mourn, were gay,
How very blithe the fingers
That gathered this, Today!
Garland for Queens, may be --
Laurels -- for rare degree
Of soul or sword.
Ah -- but remembering me --
Ah -- but remembering thee --
Nature in chivalry --
Nature in charity --
Nature in equity --
This Rose ordained!
Nobody knows this little Rose --
It might a pilgrim be
Did I not take it from the ways
And lift it up to thee.
Only a Bee will miss it --
Only a Butterfly,
Hastening from far journey --
On its breast to lie --
Only a Bird will wonder --
Only a Breeze will sigh --
Ah Little Rose -- how easy
For such as thee to die!
I counted till they danced so
Their slippers leaped the town,
And then I took a pencil
To note the rebels down.
And then they grew so jolly
I did resign the prig,
And ten of my once stately toes
Are marshalled for a jig!
Before the ice is in the pools --
Before the skaters go,
Or any check at nightfall
Is tarnished by the snow --
Before the fields have finished,
Before the Christmas tree,
Wonder upon wonder
Will arrive to me!
What we touch the hems of
On a summer's day --
What is only walking
Just a bridge away --
That which sings so -- speaks so --
When there's no one here --
Will the frock I wept in
Answer me to wear?
By such and such an offering
To Mr. So and So,
The web of live woven --
So martyrs albums show!
It did not surprise me --
So I said -- or thought --
She will stir her pinions
And the nest forgot,
Traverse broader forests --
Build in gayer boughs,
Breathe in Ear more modern
God's old fashioned vows --
This was but a Birdling --
What and if it be
One within my bosom
Had departed me?
This was but a story --
What and if indeed
There were just such coffin
In the heart instead?
When I count the seeds
That are sown beneath,
To bloom so, bye and bye --
When I con the people
Lain so low,
To be received as high --
When I believe the garden
Mortal shall not see --
Pick by faith its blossom
And avoid its Bee,
I can spare this summer, unreluctantly.
I robbed the Woods --
The trusting Woods.
The unsuspecting Trees
Brought out their Burs and mosses
My fantasy to please.
I scanned their trinkets curious -- I grasped -- I bore away --
What will the solemn Hemlock --
What will the Oak tree say?
A Day! Help! Help! Another Day!
Your prayers, oh Passer by!
From such a common ball as this
Might date a Victory!
From marshallings as simple
The flags of nations swang.
Steady -- my soul: What issues
Upon thine arrow hang!
Could live -- did live --
Could die -- did die --
Could smile upon the whole
Through faith in one he met not,
To introduce his soul.
Could go from scene familiar
To an untraversed spot --
Could contemplate the journey
With unpuzzled heart --
Such trust had one among us,
Among us not today --
We who saw the launching
Never sailed the Bay!
If she had been the Mistletoe
And I had been the Rose --
How gay upon your table
My velvet life to close --
Since I am of the Druid,
And she is of the dew --
I'll deck Tradition's buttonhole --
And send the Rose to you.
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!
I would not weep if I were they --
How rude in one to sob!
Might scare the quiet fairy
Back to her native wood!
While simple-hearted neighbors
Chat of the "Early dead" --
We -- prone to periphrasis
Remark that Birds have fled!
I keep my pledge.
I was not called --
Death did not notice me.
I bring my Rose.
I plight again,
By every sainted Bee --
By Daisy called from hillside --
by Bobolink from lane.
Blossom and I --
Her oath, and mine --
Will surely come again.
Heart! We will forget him!
You and I -- tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave --
I will forget the light!
When you have done, pray tell me
That I may straight begin!
Haste! lest while you're lagging
I remember him!
Once more, my now bewildered Dove
Bestirs her puzzled wings
Once more her mistress, on the deep
Her troubled question flings --
Thrice to the floating casement
The Patriarch's bird returned,
Courage! My brave Columbia!
There may yet be land
I never lost as much but twice,
And that was in the sod.
Twice have I stood a beggar
Before the door of God!
Angels -- twice descending
Reimbursed my store --
Burglar! Banker -- Father!
I am poor once more!
I haven't told my garden yet --
Lest that should conquer me.
I haven't quite the strength now
To break it to the Bee --
I will not name it in the street
For shops would stare at me --
That one so shy -- so ignorant
Should have the face to die.
The hillsides must not know it --
Where I have rambled so --
Nor tell the loving forests
The day that I shall go --
Nor lisp it at the table --
Nor heedless by the way
Hint that within the Riddle
One will walk today --
I often passed the village
When going home from school --
And wondered what they did there --
And why it was so still --
I did not know the year then --
In which my call would come --
Earlier, by the Dial,
Than the rest have gone.
It's stiller than the sundown.
It's cooler than the dawn --
The Daisies dare to come here --
And birds can flutter down --
So when you are tired --
Or perplexed -- or cold --
Trust the loving promise
Underneath the mould,
Cry "it's I," "take Dollie,"
And I will enfold!
Whether my bark went down at sea --
Whether she met with gales --
Whether to isles enchanted
She bent her docile sails --
By what mystic mooring
She is held today --
This is the errand of the eye
Out upon the Bay.
Taken from men -- this morning --
Carried by men today --
Met by the Gods with banners --
Who marshalled her away --
One little maid -- from playmates --
One little mind from school --
There must be guests in Eden --
All the rooms are full --
Far -- as the East from Even --
Dim -- as the border star --
Courtiers quaint, in Kingdoms
Our departed are.
If I should die,
And you should live --
And time should gurgle on --
And morn should beam --
And noon should burn --
As it has usual done --
If Birds should build as early
And Bees as bustling go --
One might depart at option
From enterprise below!
'Tis sweet to know that stocks will stand
When we with Daisies lie --
That Commerce will continue --
And Trades as briskly fly --
It makes the parting tranquil
And keeps the soul serene --
That gentlemen so sprightly
Conduct the pleasing scene!
By Chivalries as tiny,
A Blossom, or a Book,
The seeds of smiles are planted --
Which blossom in the dark.
If I should cease to bring a Rose
Upon a festal day,
'Twill be because beyond the Rose
I have been called away --
If I should cease to take the names
My buds commemorate --
'Twill be because Death's finger
Claps my murmuring lip!
To venerate the simple days
Which lead the seasons by,
Needs but to remember
That from you or I,
They may take the trifle
Delayed till she had ceased to know --
Delayed till in its vest of snow
Her loving bosom lay --
An hour behind the fleeting breath --
Later by just an hour than Death --
Oh lagging Yesterday!
Could she have guessed that it would be --
Could but a crier of the joy
Have climbed the distant hill --
Had not the bliss so slow a pace
Who knows but this surrendered face
Were undefeated still?
Oh if there may departing be
Any forgot by Victory
In her imperial round --
Show them this meek appareled thing
That could not stop to be a king --
Doubtful if it be crowned!
A little East of Jordan,
A Gymnast and an Angel
Did wrestle long and hard --
Till morning touching mountain --
And Jacob, waxing strong,
The Angel begged permission
To Breakfast -- to return --
Not so, said cunning Jacob!
"I will not let thee go
Except thou bless me" -- Stranger!
The which acceded to --
Light swung the silver fleeces
"Peniel" Hills beyond,
And the bewildered Gymnast
Found he had worsted God!
Like her the Saints retire,
In their Chapeaux of fire,
Martial as she!
Like her the Evenings steal
Purple and Cochineal
After the Day!
"Departed" -- both -- they say!
i.e. gathered away,
Argues the Aster still --
Reasons the Daffodil
Regard a Mouse
O'erpowered by the Cat!
Reserve within thy kingdom
A "Mansion" for the Rat!
Snug in seraphic Cupboards
To nibble all the day
While unsuspecting Cycles
Wheel solemnly away!
"Sown in dishonor"!
May this "dishonor" be?
If I were half so fine myself
I'd notice nobody!
"Sown in corruption"!
Not so fast!
Apostle is askew!
Corinthians 1. 15. narrates
A Circumstance or two!
If pain for peace prepares
Lo, what "Augustan" years
Our feet await!
If springs from winter rise,
Can the Anemones
Be reckoned up?
If night stands fast -- then noon
To gird us for the sun,
When from a thousand skies
On our developed eyes
Some Rainbow -- coming from the Fair!
Some Vision of the World Cashmere --
I confidently see!
Or else a Peacock's purple Train
Feather by feather -- on the plain
Fritters itself away!
The dreamy Butterflies bestir!
Lethargic pools resume the whir
Of last year's sundered tune!
From some old Fortress on the sun
Baronial Bees -- march -- one by one --
In murmuring platoon!
The Robins stand as thick today
As flakes of snow stood yesterday --
On fence -- and Roof -- and Twig!
The Orchis binds her feather on
For her old lover - Don the Sun!
Revisiting the Bog!
Without Commander! Countless! Still!
The Regiments of Wood and Hill
In bright detachment stand!
Behold! Whose Multitudes are these?
The children of whose turbaned seas --
Or what Circassian Land?
I can't tell you -- but you feel it --
Nor can you tell me --
Saints, with ravished slate and pencil
Solve our April Day!
Sweeter than a vanished frolic
From a vanished green!
Swifter than the hoofs of Horsemen
Round a Ledge of dream!
Modest, let us walk among it
With our faces veiled --
As they say polite Archangels
Do in meeting God!
Not for me -- to prate about it!
Not for you -- to say
To some fashionable Lady
"Charming April Day"!
Rather -- Heaven's "Peter Parley"!
By which Children slow
To sublimer Recitation
Are prepared to go!
So from the mould
Scarlet and Gold
Many a Bulb will rise --
Hidden away, cunningly, From sagacious eyes.
So from Cocoon
Many a Worm
Leap so Highland gay,
Peasants like me,
Peasants like Thee
Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne'er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.
Not one of all the purple Host
Who took the Flag today
Can tell the definition
So clear of Victory
As he defeated -- dying --
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!
Ambition cannot find him.
Affection doesn't know
How many leagues of nowhere
Lie between them now.
For our mutual hone, Immortality!
Low at my problem bending,
Another problem comes --
Larger than mine -- Serener --
Involving statelier sums.
I check my busy pencil,
My figures file away.
Wherefore, my baffled fingers
"Arcturus" is his other name --
I'd rather call him "Star."
It's very mean of Science
To go and interfere!
I slew a worm the other day --
A "Savant" passing by
Murmured "Resurgam" -- "Centipede"!
"Oh Lord -- how frail are we"!
I pull a flower from the woods --
A monster with a glass
Computes the stamens in a breath --
And has her in a "class"!
Whereas I took the Butterfly
Aforetime in my hat --
He sits erect in "Cabinets" --
The Clover bells forgot.
What once was "Heaven"
Is "Zenith" now --
Where I proposed to go
When Time's brief masquerade was done
Is mapped and charted too.
What if the poles should frisk about
And stand upon their heads!
I hope I'm ready for "the worst" --
Whatever prank betides!
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 -- naught -- everything --
Over the stile of "Pearl."
A throe upon the features --
A hurry in the breath --
An ecstasy of parting
Denominated "Death" --
An anguish at the mention
Which when to patience grown,
I've known permission given
To rejoin its own.
Glowing is her Bonnet,
Glowing is her Cheek,
Glowing is her Kirtle,
Yet she cannot speak.
Better as the Daisy
From the Summer hill
Save by tearful rill --
Save by loving sunrise
Looking for her face.
Save by feet unnumbered
Pausing at the place.
Who never lost, are unprepared
A Coronet to find!
Who never thirsted
Flagons, and Cooling Tamarind!
Who never climbed the weary league --
Can such a foot explore
The purple territories
On Pizarro's shore?
How many Legions overcome --
The Emperor will say?
How many Colors taken
On Revolution Day?
How many Bullets bearest?
Hast Thou the Royal scar?
Angels! Write "Promoted"
On this Soldier's brow!
A Lady red -- amid the Hill
Her annual secret keeps!
A Lady white, within the Field
In placid Lily sleeps!
The tidy Breezes, with their Brooms --
Sweep vale -- and hill -- and tree!
Prithee, My pretty Housewives!
Who may expected be?
The Neighbors do not yet suspect!
The Woods exchange a smile!
Orchard, and Buttercup, and Bird --
In such a little while!
And yet, how still the Landscape stands!
How nonchalant the Hedge!
As if the "Resurrection"
Were nothing very strange!
She died at play,
Her lease of spotted hours,
Then sank as gaily as a Turn
Upon a Couch of flowers.
Her ghost strolled softly o'er the hill
Yesterday, and Today,
Her vestments as the silver fleece --
Her countenance as spray.
Exultation is the going
Of an inland soul to sea,
Past the houses -- past the headlands --
Into deep Eternity --
Bred as we, among the mountains,
Can the sailor understand
The divine intoxication
Of the first league out from land?
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!
A poor -- torn heart -- a tattered heart --
That sat it down to rest --
Nor noticed that the Ebbing Day
Flowed silver to the West --
Nor noticed Night did soft descend --
Nor Constellation burn --
Intent upon the vision
Of latitudes unknown.
The angels -- happening that way
This dusty heart espied --
Tenderly took it up from toil
And carried it to God --
There -- sandals for the Barefoot --
There -- gathered from the gales --
Do the blue havens by the hand
Lead the wandering Sails.
Going to Heaven!
I don't know when --
Pray do not ask me how!
Indeed I'm too astonished
To think of answering you!
Going to Heaven!
How dim it sounds!
And yet it will be done
As sure as flocks go home at night
Unto the Shepherd's arm!
Perhaps you're going too!
If you should get there first
Save just a little space for me
Close to the two I lost --
The smallest "Robe" will fit me
And just a bit of "Crown" --
For you know we do not mind our dress
When we are going home --
I'm glad I don't believe it
For it would stop my breath --
And I'd like to look a little more
At such a curious Earth!
I'm glad they did believe it
Whom I have never found
Since the might Autumn afternoon
I left them in the ground.
Our lives are Swiss --
So still -- so Cool --
Till some odd afternoon
The Alps neglect their Curtains
And we look farther on!
Italy stands the other side!
While like a guard between --
The solemn Alps --
The siren Alps
We should not mind so small a flower --
Except it quiet bring
Our little garden that we lost
Back to the Lawn again.
So spicy her Carnations nod --
So drunken, reel her Bees --
So silver steal a hundred flutes
From out a hundred trees --
That whoso sees this little flower
By faith may clear behold
The Bobolinks around the throne
And Dandelions gold.
Whose cheek is this?
What rosy face
Has lost a blush today?
I found her -- "pleiad" -- in the woods
And bore her safe away.
Robins, in the tradition
Did cover such with leaves,
But which the cheek --
And which the pall
My scrutiny deceives.
Heart, not so heavy as mine
Wending late home --
As it passed my window
Whistled itself a tune --
A careless snatch -- a ballad -- A ditty of the street --
Yet to my irritated Ear
An Anodyne so sweet --
It was as if a Bobolink
Sauntering this way
Carolled, and paused, and carolled --
Then bubbled slow away!
It was as if a chirping brook
Upon a dusty way --
Set bleeding feet to minuets
Without the knowing why!
Tomorrow, night will come again --
Perhaps, weary and sore --
Ah Bugle! By my window
I pray you pass once more.
Her breast is fit for pearls,
But I was not a "Diver" --
Her brow is fit for thrones
But I have not a crest.
Her heart is fit for home --
I -- a Sparrow -- build there
Sweet of twigs and twine
My perennial nest.
"They have not chosen me," he said,
"But I have chosen them!"
Brave -- Broken hearted statement --
Uttered in Bethlehem!
I could not have told it,
But since Jesus dared --
Sovereign! Know a Daisy
They dishonor shared!
South Winds jostle them --
Bumblebees come --
Hover -- hesitate --
Drink, and are gone --
On their passage Cashmere --
I -- softly plucking,
Present them here!
A darting fear -- a pomp -- a tear --
A waking on a morn
To find that what one waked for,
Inhales the different dawn.
As by the dead we love to sit,
Become so wondrous dear --
As for the lost we grapple
Tho' all the rest are here --
In broken mathematics
We estimate our prize
Vast -- in its fading ration
To our penurious eyes!
Some things that fly there be --
Birds -- Hours -- the Bumblebee --
Of these no Elegy.
Some things that stay there be --
Grief -- Hills -- Eternity --
Nor this behooveth me.
There are that resting, rise.
Can I expound the skies?
How still the Riddle lies!
Within my reach!
I could have touched!
I might have chanced that way!
Soft sauntered thro' the village --
Sauntered as soft away!
So unsuspected Violets
Within the meadows go --
Too late for striving fingers
That passed, an hour ago!
So bashful when I spied her!
So pretty -- so ashamed!
So hidden in her leaflets
Lest anybody find --
So breathless till I passed here --
So helpless when I turned
And bore her struggling, blushing,
Her simple haunts beyond!
For whom I robbed the Dingle --
For whom I betrayed the Dell --
Many, will doubtless ask me,
But I shall never tell!
My friend must be a Bird --
Because it flies!
Mortal, my friend must be,
Because it dies!
Barbs has it, like a Bee!
Ah, curious friend!
Thou puzzlest me!
Went up a year this evening!
I recollect it well!
Amid no bells nor bravoes
The bystanders will tell!
Cheerful -- as to the village --
Tranquil -- as to repose --
Chastened -- as to the Chapel
This humble Tourist rose!
Did not talk of returning!
Alluded to no time
When, were the gales propitious --
We might look for him!
Was grateful for the Roses
In life's diverse bouquet --
Talked softly of new species
To pick another day;
Beguiling thus the wonder
The wondrous nearer drew --
Hands bustled at the moorings --
The crown respectful grew --
Ascended from our vision
To Countenances new!
A Difference -- A Daisy --
Is all the rest I knew!
Angels, in the early morning
May be seen the Dews among,
Stooping -- plucking -- smiling -- flying --
Do the Buds to them belong?
Angels, when the sun is hottest
May be seen the sands among,
Stooping -- plucking -- sighing -- flying --
Parched the flowers they bear along.
My nosegays are for Captives --
Dim -- expectant eyes,
Fingers denied the plucking,
Patient till Paradise.
To such, if they should whisper
Of morning and the moor,
They bear no other errand,
And I, no other prayer.
Sexton! My Master's sleeping here.
Pray lead me to his bed!
I came to build the Bird's nest,
And sow the Early seed --
That when the snow creeps slowly
From off his chamber door --
Daisies point the way there --
And the Troubadour.
The rainbow never tells me
That gust and storm are by,
Yet is she more convincing
My flowers turn from Forums --
Yet eloquent declare
What Cato couldn't prove me
Except the birds were here!
One dignity delays for all --
One mitred Afternoon --
None can avoid this purple --
None evade this Crown!
Coach, it insures, and footmen --
Chamber, and state, and throng --
Bells, also, in the village
As we ride grand along!
What dignified Attendants!
What service when we pause!
How loyally at parting
Their hundred hats they raise!
Her pomp surpassing ermine
When simple You, and I,
Present our meek escutheon
And claim the rank to die!
New feet within my garden go --
New fingers stir the sod --
A Troubadour upon the Elm
Betrays the solitude.
New children play upon the green --
New Weary sleep below --
And still the pensive Spring returns --
And still the punctual snow!
A science -- so the Savants say,
"Comparative Anatomy" --
By which a single bone --
Is made a secret to unfold
Of some rare tenant of the mold,
Else perished in the stone --
So to the eye prospective led,
This meekest flower of the mead
Upon a winter's day,
Stands representative in gold
Of Rose and Lily, manifold,
And countless Butterfly!
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?
Has it feet like Water lilies?
Has it feathers like a Bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?
Oh some Scholar! Oh some Sailor!
Oh some Wise Men from the skies!
Please to tell a little Pilgrim
Where the place called "Morning" lies!
Great Caesar! Condescend
The Daisy, to receive,
Gathered by Cato's Daughter,
With your majestic leave!
I have a King, who does not speak --
So -- wondering -- thro' the hours meek
I trudge the day away --
Half glad when it is night, and sleep,
If, haply, thro' a dream, to peep
In parlors, shut by day.
And if I do -- when morning comes --
It is as if a hundred drums
Did round my pillow roll,
And shouts fill all my Childish sky,
And Bells keep saying "Victory"
From steeples in my soul!
And if I don't -- the little Bird
Within the Orchard, is not heard,
And I omit to pray
"Father, thy will be done" today
For my will goes the other way,
And it were perjury!
Where I have lost, I softer tread --
I sow sweet flower from garden bed --
I pause above that vanished head
Whom I have lost, I pious guard
From accent harsh, or ruthless word --
Feeling as if their pillow heard,
When I have lost, you'll know by this --
A Bonnet black -- A dusk surplice --
A little tremor in my voice Like this!
Why, I have lost, the people know
Who dressed in flocks of purest snow
Went home a century ago
To hang our head -- ostensibly --
And subsequent, to find
That such was not the posture
Of our immortal mind --
Affords the sly presumption
That in so dense a fuzz --
You -- too -- take Cobweb attitudes
Upon a plane of Gauze!
The Daisy follows soft the Sun --
And when his golden walk is done --
Sits shyly at his feet --
He -- waking -- finds the flower there --
Wherefore -- Marauder -- art thou here?
Because, Sir, love is sweet!
We are the Flower -- Thou the Sun!
Forgive us, if as days decline --
We nearer steal to Thee!
Enamored of the parting West --
The peace -- the flight -- the Amethyst --
'Twas such a little -- little boat That toddled down the bay!
'Twas such a gallant -- gallant sea
That beckoned it away!
'Twas such a greedy, greedy wave
That licked it from the Coast --
Nor ever guessed the stately sails
My little craft was lost!
Surgeons must be very careful
When they take the knife!
Underneath their fine incisions
Stirs the Culprit -- Life!
By a flower -- By a letter --
By a nimble love --
If I weld the Rivet faster --
Final fast -- above --
Never mind my breathless Anvil!
Never mind Repose!
Never mind the sooty faces
Tugging at the Forge!
Artists wrestled here!
Lo, a tint Cashmere!
Lo, a Rose!
Student of the Year!
For the easel here
The Bee is not afraid of me.
I know the Butterfly.
The pretty people in the Woods
Receive me cordially --
The Brooks laugh louder when I come --
The Breezes madder play;
Wherefore mine eye thy silver mists,
Wherefore, Oh Summer's Day?
Where bells no more affright the morn --
Where scrabble never comes --
Where very nimble Gentlemen
Are forced to keep their rooms --
Where tired Children placid sleep
Thro' Centuries of noon
This place is Bliss -- this town is Heaven --
Please, Pater, pretty soon!
"Oh could we climb where Moses stood,
And view the Landscape o'er"
Not Father's bells -- nor Factories,
Could scare us any more!
Our share of night to bear --
Our share of morning --
Our blank in bliss to fill
Our blank in scorning --
Here a star, and there a star,
Some lose their way!
Here a mist, and there a mist,
Afterwards -- Day!
Good night, because we must,
How intricate the dust!
I would go, to know!
Saucy, Saucy Seraph
To elude me so!
Father! they won't tell me,
Won't you tell them to?
What Inn is this
Where for the night
Peculiar Traveller comes?
Who is the Landlord?
Where the maids?
Behold, what curious rooms!
No ruddy fires on the hearth --
No brimming Tankards flow --
Who are these below?
I had some things that I called mine --
And God, that he called his,
Till, recently a rival Claim
Disturbed these amities.
The property, my garden,
Which having sown with care,
He claims the pretty acre,
And sends a Bailiff there.
The station of the parties
But Justice is sublimer
Than arms, or pedigree.
I'll institute an "Action" --
I'll vindicate the law --
Jove! Choose your counsel --
I retain "Shaw"!
In rags mysterious as these
The shining Courtiers go --
Veiling the purple, and the plumes --
Veiling the ermine so.
Smiling, as they request an alms --
At some imposing door!
Smiling when we walk barefoot
Upon their golden floor!
My friend attacks my friend!
Oh Battle picturesque!
Then I turn Soldier too,
And he turns Satirist!
How martial is this place!
Had I a mighty gun
I think I'd shoot the human race
And then to glory run!
Talk with prudence to a Beggar
Of "Potose," and the mines!
Reverently, to the Hungry
Of your viands, and your wines!
Cautious, hint to any Captive
You have passed enfranchised feet!
Anecdotes of air in Dungeons
Have sometimes proved deadly sweet!
If this is "fading"
Oh let me immediately "fade"!
If this is "dying"
Bury me, in such a shroud of red!
If this is "sleep,"
On such a night
How proud to shut the eye!
Good Evening, gentle Fellow men!
Peacock presumes to die!
As Watchers hang upon the East,
As Beggars revel at a feast
By savory Fancy spread --
As brooks in deserts babble sweet
On ear too far for the delight,
Heaven beguiles the tired.
As that same watcher, when the East
Opens the lid of Amethyst
And lets the morning go --
That Beggar, when an honored Guest,
Those thirsty lips to flagons pressed,
Heaven to us, if true.
A something in a summer's Day
As slow her flambeaux burn away
Which solemnizes me.
A something in a summer's noon --
A depth -- an Azure -- a perfume --
And still within a summer's night
A something so transporting bright
I clap my hands to see --
Then veil my too inspecting face
Lets such a subtle -- shimmering grace
Flutter too far for me --
The wizard fingers never rest --
The purple brook within the breast
Still chafes it narrow bed --
Still rears the East her amber Flag --
Guides still the sun along the Crag
His Caravan of Red --
So looking on -- the night -- the morn
Conclude the wonder gay --
And I meet, coming thro' the dews
Another summer's Day!
Many cross the Rhine
In this cup of mine.
Sip old Frankfort air
From my brown Cigar.
In lands I never saw -- they say
Immortal Alps look down --
Whose Bonnets touch the firmament --
Whose Sandals touch the town --
Meek at whose everlasting feet
A Myriad Daisy play --
Which, Sir, are you and which am I
Upon an August day?
For each ecstatic instant
We must an anguish pay
In keen and quivering ration
To the ecstasy.
For each beloved hour
Sharp pittances of years --
Bitter contested farthings --
And Coffers heaped with Tears!
To fight aloud, is very brave --
But gallanter, I know
Who charge within the bosom
The Cavalry of Woe --
Who win, and nations do not see --
Who fall -- and none observe --
Whose dying eyes, no Country
Regards with patriot love --
We trust, in plumed procession
For such, the Angels go --
Rank after Rank, with even feet --
And Uniforms of Snow.
"Houses" -- so the Wise Men tell me --
"Mansions"! Mansions must be warm!
Mansions cannot let the tears in,
Mansions must exclude the storm!
"Many Mansions," by "his Father,"
I don't know him; snugly built!
Could the Children find the way there --
Some, would even trudge tonight!
Bring me the sunset in a cup,
Reckon the morning's flagons up
And say how many Dew,
Tell me how far the morning leaps --
Tell me what time the weaver sleeps
Who spun the breadth of blue!
Write me how many notes there be
In the new Robin's ecstasy
Among astonished boughs --
How many trips the Tortoise makes --
How many cups the Bee partakes,
The Debauchee of Dews!
Also, who laid the Rainbow's piers,
Also, who leads the docile spheres
By withes of supple blue?
Whose fingers string the stalactite --
Who counts the wampum of the night
To see that none is due?
Who built this little Alban House
And shut the windows down so close
My spirit cannot see?
Who'll let me out some gala day
With implements to fly away,
Cocoon above! Cocoon below!
Stealthy Cocoon, why hide you so
What all the world suspect?
An hour, and gay on every tree
Your secret, perched in ecstasy
An hour in Chrysalis to pass,
Then gay above receding grass
A Butterfly to go!
A moment to interrogate,
Then wiser than a "Surrogate,"
The Universe to know!
These are the days when Birds come back --
A very few -- a Bird or two --
To take a backward look.
These are the days when skies resume
The old -- old sophistries of June --
A blue and gold mistake.
Oh fraud that cannot cheat the Bee --
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief.
Till ranks of seeds their witness bear --
And softly thro' the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf.
Oh Sacrament of summer days,
Oh Last Communion in the Haze --
Permit a child to join.
Thy sacred emblems to partake --
They consecrated bread to take
And thine immortal wine!
Besides the Autumn poets sing
A few prosaic days
A little this side of the snow
And that side of the Haze --
A few incisive Mornings --
A few Ascetic Eves --
Gone -- Mr. Bryant's "Golden Rod" --
And Mr. Thomson's "sheaves."
Still, is the bustle in the Brook --
Sealed are the spicy valves --
Mesmeric fingers softly touch
The Eyes of many Elves --
Perhaps a squirrel may remain --
My sentiments to share --
Grant me, Oh Lord, a sunny mind --
Thy windy will to bear!
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 --
I would as soon attempt to warm
The bosoms where the frost has lain
Ages beneath the mould --
Some other thirsty there may be
To whom this would have pointed me
Had it remained to speak --
And so I always bear the cup
If, haply, mine may be the drop
Some pilgrim thirst to slake --
If, haply, any say to me
"Unto the little, unto me,"
When I at last awake.
As Children bid the Guest "Good Night"
And then reluctant turn --
My flowers raise their pretty lips --
Then put their nightgowns on.
As children caper when they wake
Merry that it is Morn --
My flowers from a hundred cribs
Will peep, and prance again.
Perhaps you'd like to buy a flower,
But I could never sell --
If you would like to borrow,
Until the Daffodil
Unties her yellow Bonnet
Beneath the village door,
Until the Bees, from Clover rows
Their Hock, and Sherry, draw,
Why, I will lend until just then,
But not an hour more!
Water, is taught by thirst.
Land -- by the Oceans passed.
Transport -- by throe --
Peace -- by its battles told --
Love, by Memorial Mold --
Birds, by the Snow.
Have you got a Brook in your little heart,
Where bashful flowers blow,
And blushing birds go down to drink,
And shadows tremble so --
And nobody knows, so still it flows,
That any brook is there,
And yet your little draught of life
Is daily drunken there --
Why, look out for the little brook in March,
When the rivers overflow,
And the snows come hurrying from the fills,
And the bridges often go --
And later, in August it may be --
When the meadows parching lie,
Beware, lest this little brook of life,
Some burning noon go dry!
Flowers -- Well -- if anybody
Can the ecstasy define --
Half a transport -- half a trouble --
With which flowers humble men:
Anybody find the fountain
From which floods so contra flow --
I will give him all the Daisies
Which upon the hillside blow.
Too much pathos in their faces
For a simple breast like mine --
Butterflies from St. Domingo
Cruising round the purple line --
Have a system of aesthetics --
Far superior to mine.
Pigmy seraphs -- gone astray --
Velvet people from Vevay --
Balles from some lost summer day --
Bees exclusive Coterie --
Paris could not lay the fold
Belted down with Emerald --
Venice could not show a check
Of a tint so lustrous meek --
Never such an Ambuscade
As of briar and leaf displayed
For my little damask maid --
I had rather wear her grace
Than an Earl's distinguished face --
I had rather dwell like her
Than be "Duke of Exeter" --
Royalty enough for me
To subdue the Bumblebee.
Soul, Wilt thou toss again?
By just such a hazard
Hundreds have lost indeed --
But tens have won an all --
Angel's breathless ballot
Lingers to record thee --
Imps in eager Caucus
Raffle for my Soul!
An altered look about the hills --
A Tyrian light the village fills --
A wider sunrise in the morn --
A deeper twilight on the lawn --
A print of a vermillion foot --
A purple finger on the slope --
A flippant fly upon the pane --
A spider at his trade again --
An added strut in Chanticleer --
A flower expected everywhere --
An axe shrill singing in the woods --
Fern odors on untravelled roads --
All this and more I cannot tell --
A furtive look you know as well --
And Nicodemus' Mystery
Receives its annual reply!
Some, too fragile for winter winds
The thoughtful grave encloses --
Tenderly tucking them in from frost
Before their feet are cold.
Never the treasures in her nest
The cautious grave exposes,
Building where schoolboy dare not look,
And sportsman is not bold.
This covert have all the children
Early aged, and often cold,
Sparrow, unnoticed by the Father --
Lambs for whom time had not a fold.
Whose are the little beds, I asked
Which in the valleys lie?
Some shook their heads, and others smiled --
And no one made reply.
Perhaps they did not hear, I said,
I will inquire again --
Whose are the beds -- the tiny beds
So thick upon the plain?
'Tis Daisy, in the shortest --
A little further on --
Nearest the door -- to wake the Ist --
'Tis Iris, Sir, and Aster --
Anemone, and Bell --
Bartsia, in the blanket red --
And chubby Daffodil.
Meanwhile, at many cradles
Her busy foot she plied --
Humming the quaintest lullaby
That ever rocked a child.
Hush! Epigea wakens!
The Crocus stirs her lids --
Rhodora's cheek is crimson,
She's dreaming of the woods!
Then turning from them reverent --
Their bedtime 'tis, she said --
The Bumble bees will wake them
When April woods are red.
For every Bird a Nest --
Wherefore in timid quest
Some little Wren goes seeking round --
Wherefore when boughs are free --
Households in every tree --
Pilgrim be found?
Perhaps a home too high --
The little Wren desires --
Perhaps of twig so fine --
Of twine e'en superfine,
Her pride aspires --
The Lark is not ashamed
To build upon the ground
Her modest house --
Yet who of all the throng
Dancing around the sun
Does so rejoice?
She bore it till the simple veins
Traced azure on her hand --
Til pleading, round her quiet eyes
The purple Crayons stand.
Till Daffodils had come and gone
I cannot tell the sum,
And then she ceased to bear it --
And with the Saints sat down.
No more her patient figure
At twilight soft to meet --
No more her timid bonnet
Upon the village street --
But Crowns instead, and Courtiers --
And in the midst so fair,
Whose but her shy -- immortal face
Of whom we're whispering here?
This heart that broke so long --
These feet that never flagged --
This faith that watched for star in vain,
Give gently to the dead --
Hound cannot overtake the Hare
That fluttered panting, here --
Nor any schoolboy rob the nest
Tenderness builded there.
On such a night, or such a night,
Would anybody care
If such a little figure
Slipped quiet from its chair --
So quiet -- Oh how quiet,
That nobody might know
But that the little figure
Rocked softer -- to and fro --
On such a dawn, or such a dawn --
Would anybody sigh
That such a little figure
Too sound asleep did lie
For Chanticleer to wake it --
Or stirring house below --
Or giddy bird in orchard --
Or early task to do?
There was a little figure plump
For every little knoll --
Busy needles, and spools of thread --
And trudging feet from school --
Playmates, and holidays, and nuts --
And visions vast and small --
Strange that the feet so precious charged
Should reach so small a goal!
Bless God, he went as soldiers,
His musket on his breast --
Grant God, he charge the bravest
Of all the martial blest!
Please God, might I behold him
In epauletted white --
I should not fear the foe then --
I should not fear the fight!
All overgrown by cunning moss,
All interspersed with weed,
The little cage of "Currer Bell"
In quiet "Haworth" laid.
Gathered from many wanderings --
Gethsemane can tell
Thro' what transporting anguish
She reached the Asphodel!
Soft falls the sounds of Eden
Upon her puzzled ear --
Oh what an afternoon for Heaven,
When "Bronte" entered there!
She went as quiet as the Dew
From an Accustomed flower.
Not like the Dew, did she return
At the Accustomed hour!
She dropt as softly as a star
From out my summer's Eve --
Less skillful than Le Verriere
It's sorer to believe!
She died -- this was the way she died.
And when her breath was done
Took up her simple wardrobe
And started for the sun.
Her little figure at the gate
The Angels must have spied,
Since I could never find her
Upon the mortal side.
Mute thy Coronation --
Meek my Vive le roi,
Fold a tiny courtier
In thine Ermine, Sir,
There to rest revering
Till the pageant by,
I can murmur broken,
Master, It was I --
The Sun kept stooping -- stooping -- low!
The Hills to meet him rose!
On his side, what Transaction!
On their side, what Repose!
Deeper and deeper grew the stain
Upon the window pane --
Thicker and thicker stood the feet
Until the Tyrian
Was crowded dense with Armies --
So gay, so Brigadier --
That I felt martial stirrings
Who once the Cockade wore --
Charged from my chimney corner --
But Nobody was there!
Dust is the only Secret --
Death, the only One
You cannot find out all about
In his "native town."
Nobody know "his Father" --
Never was a Boy --
Hadn't any playmates,
Or "Early history" --
Bold as a Brigand!
Stiller than a Fleet!
Builds, like a Bird, too!
Christ robs the Nest --
Robin after Robin
Smuggled to Rest!
Except to Heaven, she is nought.
Except for Angels -- lone.
Except to some wide-wandering Bee
A flower superfluous blown.
Except for winds -- provincial.
Except by Butterflies
Unnoticed as a single dew
That on the Acre lies.
The smallest Housewife in the grass,
Yet take her from the Lawn
And somebody has lost the face
That made Existence -- Home!
The Murmur of a Bee
A Witchcraft -- yieldeth me --
If any ask me why --
'Twere easier to die --
Than tell --
The Red upon the Hill
Taketh away my will --
If anybody sneer --
Take care -- for God is here --
The Breaking of the Day
Addeth to my Degree --
If any ask me how --
Artist -- who drew me so --
You love me -- you are sure --
I shall not fear mistake --
I shall not cheated wake --
Some grinning morn --
To find the Sunrise left --
And Orchards -- unbereft --
And Dollie -- gone!
I need not start -- you're sure --
That night will never be --
When frightened -- home to Thee I run --
To find the windows dark --
And no more Dollie -- mark --
Be sure you're sure -- you know --
I'll bear it better now --
If you'll just tell me so --
Than when -- a little dull Balm grown --
Over this pain of mine --
You sting -- again!
Musicians wrestle everywhere --
All day -- among the crowded air
I hear the silver strife --
And -- walking -- long before the morn --
Such transport breaks upon the town
I think it that "New Life"!
If is not Bird -- it has no nest --
Nor "Band" -- in brass and scarlet -- drest --
Nor Tamborin -- nor Man --
It is not Hymn from pulpit read --
The "Morning Stars" the Treble led
On Time's first Afternoon!
Some -- say -- it is "the Spheres" -- at play!
Some say that bright Majority
Of vanished Dames -- and Men!
Some -- think it service in the place
Where we -- with late -- celestial face --
Please God -- shall Ascertain!
Dying! Dying in the night!
Won't somebody bring the light
So I can see which way to go
Into the everlasting snow?
And "Jesus"! Where is Jesus gone?
They said that Jesus -- always came --
Perhaps he doesn't know the House --
This way, Jesus, Let him pass!
Somebody run to the great gate
And see if Dollie's coming! Wait!
I hear her feet upon the stair!
Death won't hurt -- now Dollie's here!
A little bread -- a crust -- a crumb --
A little trust -- a demijohn --
Can keep the soul alive --
Not portly, mind! but breathing -- warm --
Conscious -- as old Napoleon,
The night before the Crown!
A modest lot -- A fame petite --
A brief Campaign of sting and sweet
Is plenty! Is enough!
A Sailor's business is the shore!
A Soldier's -- balls! Who asketh more,
Must seek the neighboring life!
Just lost, when I was saved!
Just felt the world go by!
Just girt me for the onset with Eternity,
When breath blew back,
And on the other side
I heard recede the disappointed tide!
Therefore, as One returned, I feel
Odd secrets of the line to tell!
Some Sailor, skirting foreign shores --
Some pale Reporter, from the awful doors
Before the Seal!
Next time, to stay!
Next time, the things to see
By Ear unheard,
Unscrutinized by Eye --
Next time, to tarry,
While the Ages steal --
Slow tramp the Centuries,
And the Cycles wheel!
A feather from the Whippoorwill
That everlasting -- sings!
Whose galleries -- are Sunrise --
Whose Opera -- the Springs --
Whose Emerald Nest the Ages spin
Of mellow -- murmuring thread --
Whose Beryl Egg, what Schoolboys hunt
In "Recess" -- Overhead!
My River runs to thee --
Blue Sea! Wilt welcome me?
My River wait reply --
Oh Sea -- look graciously --
I'll fetch thee Brooks
From spotted nooks --
Say -- Sea -- Take Me!
Tho' my destiny be Fustian --
Hers be damask fine --
Tho' she wear a silver apron --
I, a less divine --
Still, my little Gypsy being
I would far prefer,
Still, my little sunburnt bosom
To her Rosier,
For, when Frosts, their punctual fingers
On her forehead lay,
You and I, and Dr. Holland,
Roses of a steadfast summer
In a steadfast land,
Where no Autumn lifts her pencil --
And no Reapers stand!
Mama never forgets her birds,
Though in another tree --
She looks down just as often
And just as tenderly
As when her little mortal nest
With cunning care she wove --
If either of her "sparrows fall,"
She "notices," above.
A Wounded Deer -- leaps highest --
I've heard the Hunter tell --
'Tis but the Ecstasy of death --
And then the Brake is still!
The Smitten Rock that gushes!
The trampled Steel that springs!
A Cheek is always redder
Just where the Hectic stings!
Mirth is the Mail of Anguish
In which it Cautious Arm,
Lest anybody spy the blood
And "you're hurt" exclaim!
I met a King this afternoon!
He had not on a Crown indeed,
A little Palmleaf Hat was all,
And he was barefoot, I'm afraid!
But sure I am he Ermine wore
Beneath his faded Jacket's blue --
And sure I am, the crest he bore
Within that Jacket's pocket too!
For 'twas too stately for an Earl --
A Marquis would not go so grand!
'Twas possibly a Czar petite --
A Pope, or something of that kind!
If I must tell you, of a Horse
My freckled Monarch held the rein --
Doubtless an estimable Beast,
But not at all disposed to run!
And such a wagon! While I live
Dare I presume to see
Another such a vehicle
As then transported me!
Two other ragged Princes
His royal state partook!
Doubtless the first excursion
These sovereigns ever took!
I question if the Royal Coach
Round which the Footmen wait
Has the significance, on high,
Of this Barefoot Estate!
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 --
Ascend in ceaseless Carol --
To us -- the duller scholars
Of the Mysterious Bard!
If the foolish, call them "flowers" --
Need the wiser, tell?
If the Savants "Classify" them
It is just as well!
Those who read the "Revelations"
Must not criticize
Those who read the same Edition --
With beclouded Eyes!
Could we stand with that Old "Moses" --
"Canaan" denied --
Scan like him, the stately landscape
On the other side --
Doubtless, we should deem superfluous
Not pursued by learned Angels
In scholastic skies!
Low amid that glad Belles lettres
Grant that we may stand,
Stars, amid profound Galaxies --
At that grand "Right hand"!
In Ebon Box, when years have flown
To reverently peer,
Wiping away the velvet dust
Summers have sprinkled there!
To hold a letter to the light --
Grown Tawny now, with time --
To con the faded syllables
That quickened us like Wine!
Perhaps a Flower's shrivelled check
Among its stores to find --
Plucked far away, some morning --
By gallant -- mouldering hand!
A curl, perhaps, from foreheads
Our Constancy forgot --
Perhaps, an Antique trinket --
In vanished fashions set!
And then to lay them quiet back --
And go about its care --
As if the little Ebon Box
Were none of our affair!
Portraits are to daily faces
As an Evening West,
To a fine, pedantic sunshine --
In a satin Vest!
Wait till the Majesty of Death
Invests so mean a brow!
Almost a powdered Footman
Might dare to touch it now!
Wait till in Everlasting Robes
That Democrat is dressed,
Then prate about "Preferment" --
And "Station," and the rest!
Around this quiet Courtier
Obsequious Angels wait!
Full royal is his Retinue!
Full purple is his state!
A Lord, might dare to lift the Hat
To such a Modest Clay
Since that My Lord, "the Lord of Lords"
'Tis so much joy! 'Tis 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 befall!
And if I gain! Oh Gun at Sea!
Oh Bells, that in the Steeples be!
At first, repeat it slow!
For Heaven is a different thing,
Conjectured, and waked sudden in --
And might extinguish me!
A fuzzy fellow, without feet,
Yet doth exceeding run!
Of velvet, is his Countenance,
And his Complexion, dun!
Sometime, he dwelleth in the grass!
Sometime, upon a bough,
From which he doth descend in plush
Upon the Passer-by!
All this in summer.
But when winds alarm the Forest Folk,
He taketh Damask Residence --
And struts in sewing silk!
Then, finer than a Lady,
Emerges in the spring!
A Feather on each shoulder!
You'd scarce recognize him!
By Men, yclept Caterpillar!
By me! But who am I,
To tell the pretty secret
Of the Butterfly!
At last, to be identified!
At last, the lamps upon thy side
The rest of Life to see!
Past Midnight! Past the Morning Star!
Ah, What leagues there were
Between our feet, and Day!
I have never seen "Volcanoes" --
But, when Travellers tell
How those old -- phlegmatic mountains
Usually so still --
Bear within -- appalling Ordnance,
Fire, and smoke, and gun,
Taking Villages for breakfast,
And appalling Men --
If the stillness is Volcanic
In the human face
When upon a pain Titanic
Features keep their place --
If at length the smouldering anguish
Will not overcome --
And the palpitating Vineyard
In the dust, be thrown?
If some loving Antiquary,
On Resumption Morn,
Will not cry with joy "Pompeii"!
To the Hills return!
I'm the little "Heart's Ease"!
I don't care for pouting skies!
If the Butterfly delay
Can I, therefore, stay away?
If the Coward Bumble Bee
In his chimney corner stay,
I, must resoluter be!
Who'll apologize for me?
Dear, Old fashioned, little flower!
Eden is old fashioned, too!
Birds are antiquated fellows!
Heaven does not change her blue.
Nor will I, the little Heart's Ease --
Ever be induced to do!
Ah, Necromancy Sweet!
Ah, Wizard erudite!
Teach me the skill,
That I instil the pain
Surgeons assuage in vain,
Nor Herb of all the plain
I cautious, scanned my little life --
I winnowed what would fade
From what would last till Heads like mine
Should be a-dreaming laid.
I put the latter in a Barn --
The former, blew away.
I went one winter morning
And lo - my priceless Hay
Was not upon the "Scaffold" --
Was not upon the "Beam" --
And from a thriving Farmer --
A Cynic, I became.
Whether a Thief did it --
Whether it was the wind --
Whether Deity's guiltless --
My business is, to find!
So I begin to ransack!
How is it Hearts, with Thee?
Art thou within the little Barn
Love provided Thee?
If I could bribe them by a Rose
I'd bring them every flower that grows
From Amherst to Cashmere!
I would not stop for night, or storm --
Or frost, or death, or anyone --
My business were so dear!
If they would linger for a Bird
My Tambourin were soonest heard
Among the April Woods!
Unwearied, all the summer long,
Only to break in wilder song
When Winter shook the boughs!
What if they hear me!
Who shall say
That such an importunity
May not at last avail?
That, weary of this Beggar's face --
They may not finally say, Yes --
To drive her from the Hall?
As if some little Arctic flower
Upon the polar hem --
Went wandering down the Latitudes
Until it puzzled came
To continents of summer --
To firmaments of sun --
To strange, bright crowds of flowers --
And birds, of foreign tongue!
I say, As if this little flower
To Eden, wandered in --
What then? Why nothing,
Only, your inference therefrom!
I lost a World - the other day!
Has Anybody found?
You'll know it by the Row of Stars
Around its forehead bound.
A Rich man -- might not notice it --
Yet -- to my frugal Eye,
Of more Esteem than Ducats --
Oh find it -- Sir -- for me!
If I shouldn't be alive
When the Robins come,
Give the one in Red Cravat,
A Memorial crumb.
If I couldn't thank you,
Being fast asleep,
You will know I'm trying
Why my Granite lip!
I've heard an Organ talk, sometimes
In a Cathedral Aisle,
And understood no word it said --
Yet held my breath, the while --
And risen up -- and gone away,
A more Berdardine Girl --
Yet -- know not what was done to me
In that old Chapel Aisle.
A transport one cannot contain
May yet a transport be --
Though God forbid it lift the lid --
Unto its Ecstasy!
A Diagram -- of Rapture!
A sixpence at a Show --
With Holy Ghosts in Cages!
The Universe would go!
"Faith" is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see --
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.
What shall I do -- it whimpers so --
This little Hound within the Heart
All day and night with bark and start --
And yet, it will not go --
Would you untie it, were you me --
Would it stop whining -- if to Thee --
I sent it -- even now?
It should not tease you --
By your chair -- or, on the mat --
Or if it dare -- to climb your dizzy knee --
Or -- sometimes at your side to run --
When you were willing --
Shall it come?
Tell Carlo --
He'll tell me!
How many times these low feet staggered --
Only the soldered mouth can tell --
Try -- can you stir the awful rivet --
Try -- can you lift the hasps of steel!
Stroke the cool forehead -- hot so often --
Lift -- if you care -- the listless hair --
Handle the adamantine fingers
Never a thimble -- more -- shall wear --
Buzz the dull flies -- on the chamber window --
Brave -- shines the sun through the freckled pane --
Fearless -- the cobweb swings from the ceiling --
Indolent Housewife -- in Daisies -- lain!
Make me a picture of the sun --
So I can hang it in my room --
And make believe I'm getting warm
When others call it "Day"!
Draw me a Robin -- on a stem --
So I am hearing him, I'll dream,
And when the Orchards stop their tune --
Put my pretense -- away --
Say if it's really -- warm at noon --
Whether it's Buttercups -- that "skim" --
Or Butterflies -- that "bloom"?
Then -- skip -- the frost -- upon the lea --
And skip the Russet -- on the tree --
Let's play those -- never come!
It's such a little thing to weep --
So short a thing to sigh --
And yet -- by Trades -- the size of these
We men and women die!
He was weak, and I was strong -- then --
So He let me lead him in --
I was weak, and He was strong then --
So I let him lead me -- Home.
'Twasn't far -- the door was near --
'Twasn't dark -- for He went -- too --
'Twasn't loud, for He said nought --
That was all I cared to know.
Day knocked -- and we must part --
Neither -- was strongest -- now --
He strove -- and I strove -- too --
We didn't do it -- tho'!
The Skies can't keep their secret!
They tell it to the Hills --
The Hills just tell the Orchards --
And they -- the Daffodils!
A Bird -- by chance -- that goes that way --
Soft overhears the whole --
If I should bribe the little Bird --
Who knows but she would tell?
I think I won't -- however --
It's finer -- not to know --
If Summer were an Axiom --
What sorcery had Snow?
So keep your secret -- Father!
I would not -- if I could,
Know what the Sapphire Fellows, do,
In your new-fashioned world!
Poor little Heart!
Did they forget thee?
Then dinna care! Then dinna care!
Proud little Heart!
Did they forsake thee?
Be debonnaire! Be debonnaire!
Frail little Heart!
I would not break thee --
Could'st credit me? Could'st credit me?
Gay little Heart --
Like Morning Glory!
Wind and Sun -- wilt thee array!
I shall know why -- when Time is over --
And I have ceased to wonder why --
Christ will explain each separate anguish
In the fair schoolroom of the sky --
He will tell me what "Peter" promised --
And I -- for wonder at his woe --
I shall forget the drop of Anguish
That scalds me now -- that scalds me now!
On this long storm the Rainbow rose --
On this late Morn -- the Sun --
The clouds -- like listless Elephants --
Horizons -- straggled down --
The Birds rose smiling, in their nests --
The gales -- indeed -- were done --
Alas, how heedless were the eyes --
On whom the summer shone!
The quiet nonchalance of death --
No Daybreak -- can bestir --
The slow -- Archangel's syllables
Must awaken her!
For this -- accepted Breath --
Through it -- compete with Death --
The fellow cannot touch this Crown --
By it -- my title take --
Ah, what a royal sake
To my necessity -- stooped down!
No Wilderness -- can be
Where this attendeth me --
No Desert Noon --
No fear of frost to come
Haunt the perennial bloom --
But Certain June!
Get Gabriel -- to tell -- the royal syllable --
Get Saints -- with new -- unsteady tongue --
To say what trance below
Most like their glory show --
Fittest the Crown!
We don't cry -- Tim and I,
We are far too grand --
But we bolt the door tight
To prevent a friend --
Then we hide our brave face
Deep in our hand --
Not to cry -- Tim and I --
We are far too grand --
Nor to dream -- he and me --
Do we condescend --
We just shut our brown eye
To see to the end --
Tim -- see Cottages --
But, Oh, so high!
Then -- we shake -- Tim and I --
And lest I -- cry --
Tim -- reads a little Hymn --
And we both pray --
Please, Sir, I and Tim --
Always lost the way!
We must die -- by and by --
Clergymen say --
Tim -- shall -- if I -- do --
I -- too -- if he --
How shall we arrange it --
Tim -- was -- so -- shy?
Take us simultaneous -- Lord --
I -- "Tim" -- and Me!
Morning -- is the place for Dew --
Corn -- is made at Noon --
After dinner light -- for flowers --
Dukes -- for Setting Sun!
An awful Tempest mashed the air --
The clouds were gaunt, and few --
A Black -- as of a Spectre's Cloak
Hid Heaven and Earth from view.
The creatures chuckled on the Roofs --
And whistled in the air --
And shook their fists --
And gnashed their teeth --
And swung their frenzied hair.
The morning lit -- the Birds arose --
The Monster's faded eyes
Turned slowly to his native coast --
And peace -- was Paradise!
I'm "wife" -- I've finished that --
That other state --
I'm Czar -- I'm "Woman" now --
It's safer so --
How odd the Girl's life looks
Behind this soft Eclipse --
I think that Earth feels so
To folks in Heaven -- now --
This being comfort -- then
That other kind -- was pain --
But why compare?
I'm "Wife"! Stop there!
I stole them from a Bee --
Because -- Thee --
Sweet plea --
He pardoned me!
Two swimmers wrestled on the spar --
Until the morning sun --
When One -- turned smiling to the land --
Oh God! the Other One!
The stray ships -- passing --
Spied a face --
Upon the waters borne --
With eyes in death -- still begging raised --
And hands -- beseeching -- thrown!
My Eye is fuller than my vase --
Her Cargo -- is of Dew --
And still -- my Heart -- my Eye outweighs --
East India -- for you!
He forgot -- and I -- remembered --
'Twas an everyday affair --
Long ago as Christ and Peter --
"Warmed them" at the "Temple fire."
"Thou wert with him" -- quoth "the Damsel"?
"No" -- said Peter, 'twasn't me --
Jesus merely "looked" at Peter --
Could I do aught else -- to Thee?
A slash of Blue --
A sweep of Gray --
Some scarlet patches on the way,
Compose an Evening Sky --
A little purple -- slipped between --
Some Ruby Trousers hurried on --
A Wave of Gold --
A Bank of Day --
This just makes out the Morning Sky.
I should not dare to leave my friend,
Because -- because if he should die
While I was gone -- and I -- too late --
Should reach the Heart that wanted me --
If I should disappoint the eyes
That hunted -- hunted so -- to see --
And could not bear to shut until
They "noticed" me -- they noticed me --
If I should stab the patient faith
So sure I'd come -- so sure I'd come --
It listening -- listening -- went to sleep --
Telling my tardy name --
My Heart would wish it broke before --
Since breaking then -- since breaking then --
Were useless as next morning's sun --
Where midnight frosts -- had lain!
The Flower must not blame the Bee --
That seeketh his felicity
Too often at her door --
But teach the Footman from Vevay --
Mistress is "not at home" -- to say --
To people -- any more!
Tho' I get home how late -- how late --
So I get home - 'twill compensate --
Better will be the Ecstasy
That they have done expecting me --
When Night -- descending -- dumb -- and dark --
They hear my unexpected knock --
Transporting must the moment be --
Brewed from decades of Agony!
To think just how the fire will burn --
Just how long-cheated eyes will turn --
To wonder what myself will say,
And what itself, will say to me --
Beguiles the Centuries of way!
The Rose did caper on her cheek --
Her Bodice rose and fell --
Her pretty speech -- like drunken men --
Did stagger pitiful --
Her fingers fumbled at her work --
Her needle would not go --
What ailed so smart a little Maid --
It puzzled me to know --
Till opposite -- I spied a cheek
That bore another Rose --
Just opposite -- Another speech
That like the Drunkard goes --
A Vest that like her Bodice, danced --
To the immortal tune --
Till those two troubled -- little Clocks
Ticked softly into one.
With thee, in the Desert --
With thee in the thirst --
With thee in the Tamarind wood --
Leopard breathes -- at last!
The thought beneath so slight a film --
Is more distinctly seen --
As laces just reveal the surge --
Or mists -- the Apennine
Come slowly -- Eden!
Lips unused to Thee --
Bashful -- sip thy Jessamines --
As the fainting Bee --
Reaching late his flower,
Round her chamber hums --
Counts his nectars --
Enters -- and is lost in Balms.
Least Rivers -- docile to some sea.
My Caspian -- thee.
Did the Harebell loose her girdle
To the lover Bee
Would the Bee the Harebell hallow
Much as formerly?
Did the "Paradise" -- persuaded --
Yield her moat of pearl --
Would the Eden be an Eden,
Or the Earl -- an Earl?
I taste a liquor never brewed --
From Tankards scooped in Pearl --
Not all the Vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an Alcohol!
Inebriate of Air -- am I --
And Debauchee of Dew --
Reeling -- thro endless summer days --
From inns of Molten Blue --
When "Landlords" turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove's door --
When Butterflies -- renounce their "drams" --
I shall but drink the more!
Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats --
And Saints -- to windows run --
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the -- Sun --
What is -- "Paradise" --
Who live there --
Are they "Farmers" --
Do they "hoe" --
Do they know that this is "Amherst" --
And that I -- am coming -- too --
Do they wear "new shoes" -- in "Eden" --
Is it always pleasant -- there --
Won't they scold us -- when we're homesick --
Or tell God -- how cross we are --
You are sure there's such a person
As "a Father" -- in the sky --
So if I get lost -- there -- ever --
Or do what the Nurse calls "die" --
I shan't walk the "Jasper" -- barefoot --
Ransomed folks -- won't laugh at me --
Maybe -- "Eden" a'n't so lonesome
As New England used to be!
Safe in their Alabaster Chambers --
Untouched my Morning
And untouched by Noon --
Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection --
Rafter of satin,
And Roof of stone.
Light laughs the breeze
In her Castle above them --
Babbles the Bee in a stolid Ear,
Pipe the Sweet Birds in ignorant cadence --
Ah, what sagacity perished here!
Savior! I've no one else to tell --
And so I trouble thee.
I am the one forgot thee so --
Dost thou remember me?
Nor, for myself, I came so far --
That were the little load --
I brought thee the imperial Heart
I had not strength to hold --
The Heart I carried in my own --
Till mine too heavy grew --
Yet -- strangest -- heavier since it went --
Is it too large for you?
Is it true, dear Sue?
Are there two?
I shouldn't like to come
For fear of joggling Him!
If I could shut him up
In a Coffee Cup,
Or tie him to a pin
Till I got in --
Or make him fast
To "Toby's" fist --
Hist! Whist! I'd come!
She sweeps with many-colored Brooms --
And leaves the Shreds behind --
Oh Housewife in the Evening West --
Come back, and dust the Pond!
You dropped a Purple Ravelling in --
You dropped an Amber thread --
And how you've littered all the East
With duds of Emerald!
And still, she plies her spotted Brooms,
And still the Aprons fly,
Till Brooms fade softly into stars --
And then I come away --
Could I -- then -- shut the door --
Lest my beseeching face -- at last --
Rejected -- be -- of Her?
It can't be "Summer"!
That -- got through!
It's early -- yet -- for "Spring"!
There's that long town of White -- to cross --
Before the Blackbirds sing!
It can't be "Dying"!
It's too Rouge --
The Dead shall go in White --
So Sunset shuts my question down
With Cuffs of Chrysolite!
When Katie walks, this simple pair accompany her side,
When Katie runs unwearied they follow on the road,
When Katie kneels, their loving hands still clasp her pious knee --
Ah! Katie! Smile at Fortune, with two so knit to thee!
I Came to buy a smile -- today --
But just a single smile --
The smallest one upon your face
Will suit me just as well --
The one that no one else would miss
It shone so very small --
I'm pleading at the "counter" -- sir --
Could you afford to sell --
I've Diamonds -- on my fingers --
You know what Diamonds are?
I've Rubies -- live the Evening Blood --
And Topaz -- like the star!
'Twould be "a Bargain" for a Jew!
Say -- may I have it -- Sir?
I've nothing else -- to bring, You know --
So I keep bringing These --
Just as the Night keeps fetching Stars
To our familiar eyes --
Maybe, we shouldn't mind them --
Unless they didn't come --
Then -- maybe, it would puzzle us
To find our way Home --
Jesus! thy Crucifix
Enable thee to guess
The smaller size!
Jesus! thy second face
Mind thee in Paradise
Should you but fail at -- Sea --
In sight of me --
Or doomed lie --
Next Sun -- to die --
Or rap -- at Paradise -- unheard
I'd harass God
Until he let you in!
Teach Him -- When He makes the names --
Such an one -- to say --
On his babbling -- Berry -- lips --
As should sound -- to me --
Were my Ear -- as near his nest --
As my thought -- today --
As should sound --
"Forbid us not" --
Some like "Emily."
Blazing in Gold and quenching in Purple
Leaping like Leopards to the Sky
Then at the feet of the old Horizon
Laying her spotted Face to die
Stooping as low as the Otter's Window
Touching the Roof and tinting the Barn
Kissing her Bonnet to the Meadow
And the Juggler of Day is gone
A Burdock -- clawed my Gown --
Not Burdock's -- blame --
But mine --
Who went too near
The Burdock's Den --
A Bog -- affronts my shoe --
What else have Bogs -- to do --
The only Trade they know --
The splashing Men!
Ah, pity -- then!
'Tis Minnows can despise!
The Elephant's -- calm eyes
Look further on!
We -- Bee and I -- live by the quaffing --
'Tisn't all Hock -- with us --
Life has its Ale --
But it's many a lay of the Dim Burgundy --
We chant -- for cheer -- when the Wines -- fail --
Do we "get drunk"?
Ask the jolly Clovers!
Do we "beat" our "Wife"?
I -- never wed --
Bee -- pledges his -- in minute flagons --
Dainty -- as the trees -- on our deft Head --
While runs the Rhine --
He and I -- revel --
First -- at the vat -- and latest at the Vine --
Noon -- our last Cup --
"Found dead" -- "of Nectar" --
By a humming Coroner --
In a By-Thyme!
God permits industrious Angels --
Afternoons -- to play --
I met one -- forgot my Schoolmates --
All -- for Him -- straightway --
God calls home -- the Angels -- promptly --
At the Setting Sun --
I missed mine -- how dreary -- Marbles --
After playing Crown!
The Sun -- just touched the Morning --
The Morning -- Happy thing --
Supposed that He had come to dwell --
And Life would all be Spring!
She felt herself supremer --
A Raised -- Ethereal Thing!
Henceforth -- for Her -- What Holiday!
Meanwhile -- Her wheeling King --
Trailed -- slow -- along the Orchards --
His haughty -- spangled Hems --
Leaving a new necessity!
The want of Diadems!
The Morning -- fluttered -- staggered --
Felt feebly -- for Her Crown --
Her unanointed forehead --
Henceforth -- Her only One!
The Lamp burns sure -- within --
Tho' Serfs -- supply the Oil --
It matters not the busy Wick --
At her phosphoric toil!
The Slave -- forgets -- to fill --
The Lamp -- burns golden -- on --
Unconscious that the oil is out --
As that the Slave -- is gone.
You're right -- "the way is narrow" --
And "difficult the Gate" --
And "few there be" -- Correct again --
That "enter in -- thereat" --
'Tis Costly -- So are purples!
'Tis just the price of Breath --
With but the "Discount" of the Grave --
Termed by the Brokers -- "Death"!
And after that -- there's Heaven --
The Good Man's -- "Dividend" --
And Bad Men -- "go to Jail" --
I guess --
The Court is far away --
No Umpire -- have I --
My Sovereign is offended --
To gain his grace -- I'd die!
I'll seek his royal feet --
I'll say -- Remember -- King --
Thou shalt -- thyself -- one day -- a Child --
Implore a larger -- thing --
That Empire -- is of Czars --
As small -- they say -- as I --
Grant me -- that day -- the royalty --
To intercede -- for Thee --
If He dissolve -- then -- there is nothing -- more --
Eclipse -- at Midnight --
It was dark -- before --
Sunset -- at Easter --
Blindness -- on the Dawn --
Faint Star of Bethlehem --
Would but some God -- inform Him --
Or it be too late!
Say -- that the pulse just lisps --
The Chariots wait --
Say -- that a little life -- for His --
Is leaking -- red --
His little Spaniel -- tell Him!
Will He heed?
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?
And so I con that thing -- "forgiven" --
Until -- delirious -- borne --
By my long bright -- and longer -- trust --
I drop my Heart -- unshriven!
Kill your Balm -- and its Odors bless you --
Bare your Jessamine -- to the storm --
And she will fling her maddest perfume --
Haply -- your Summer night to Charm --
Stab the Bird -- that built in your bosom --
Oh, could you catch her last Refrain --
Bubble! "forgive" -- "Some better" -- Bubble!
"Carol for Him -- when I am gone"!
"Heaven" -- is what I cannot reach!
The Apple on the Tree --
Provided it do hopeless -- hang --
That -- "Heaven" is -- to Me!
The Color, on the Cruising Cloud --
The interdicted Land --
Behind the Hill -- the House behind --
There -- Paradise -- is found!
Her teasing Purples -- Afternoons --
The credulous -- decoy --
Enamored -- of the Conjuror --
That spurned us -- Yesterday!
Ah, Moon -- and Star!
You are very far --
But were no one
Farther than you --
Do you think I'd stop
For a Firmament --
Or a Cubit -- or so?
I could borrow a Bonnet
Of the Lark --
And a Chamois' Silver Boot --
And a stirrup of an Antelope --
And be with you -- Tonight!
But, Moon, and Star,
Though you're very far --
There is one -- farther than you --
He -- is more than a firmament -- from Me --
So I can never go!
I like a look of Agony,
Because I know it's true --
Men do not sham Convulsion,
Nor simulate, a Throe --
The Eyes glaze once -- and that is Death --
Impossible to feign
The Beads upon the Forehead
By homely Anguish strung.
When we stand on the tops of Things --
And like the Trees, look down --
The smoke all cleared away from it --
And Mirrors on the scene --
Just laying light -- no soul will wink
Except it have the flaw --
The Sound ones, like the Hills -- shall stand --
No Lighting, scares away --
The Perfect, nowhere be afraid --
They bear their dauntless Heads,
Where others, dare not go at Noon,
Protected by their deeds --
The Stars dare shine occasionally
Upon a spotted World --
And Suns, go surer, for their Proof,
As if an Axle, held --
I've known a Heaven, like a Tent --
To wrap its shining Yards --
Pluck up its stakes, and disappear --
Without the sound of Boards
Or Rip of Nail -- Or Carpenter --
But just the miles of Stare --
That signalize a Show's Retreat --
In North America --
No Trace -- no Figment of the Thing
That dazzled, Yesterday,
No Ring -- no Marvel --
Men, and Feats --
Dissolved as utterly --
As Bird's far Navigation
Discloses just a Hue --
A plash of Oars, a Gaiety --
Then swallowed up, of View.
It is easy to work when the soul is at play --
But when the soul is in pain --
The hearing him put his playthings up
Makes work difficult -- then --
It is simple, to ache in the Bone, or the Rind --
But Gimlets -- among the nerve --
Mangle daintier -- terribler --
Like a Panter in the Glove --
I held a Jewel in my fingers --
And went to sleep --
The day was warm, and winds were prosy --
I said "'Twill keep" --
I woke -- and chid my honest fingers,
The Gem was gone --
And now, an Amethyst remembrance
Is all I own --
Forever at His side to walk --
The smaller of the two!
Brain of His Brain --
Blood of His Blood --
Two lives -- One Being -- now --
Forever of His fate to taste --
If grief -- the largest part --
If joy -- to put my piece away
For that beloved Heart --
All life -- to know each other --
Whom we can never learn --
And bye and bye -- a Change --
Called Heaven --
Rapt Neighborhoods of Men --
Just finding out -- what puzzled us --
Without the lexicon!
What would I give to see his face?
I'd give -- I'd give my life -- of course --
But that is not enough!
Stop just a minute -- let me think!
I'd give my biggest Bobolink!
That makes two -- Him -- and Life!
You know who "June" is --
I'd give her --
Roses a day from Zanzibar --
And Lily tubes -- like Wells --
Bees -- by the furlong --
Straits of Blue
Navies of Butterflies -- sailed thro' --
And dappled Cowslip Dells --
Then I have "shares" in Primrose "Banks" --
Daffodil Dowries -- spicy "Stocks" --
Dominions -- broad as Dew --
Bags of Doublons -- adventurous Bees
Brought me -- from firmamental seas --
And Purple -- from Peru --
Now -- have I bought it --
Sign me the Bond!
"I vow to pay
To Her -- who pledges this --
One hour -- of her Sovereign's face"!
My Kingdom's worth of Bliss!
Why -- do they shut Me out of Heaven?
Did I sing -- too loud?
But -- I can say a little "Minor"
Timid as a Bird!
Wouldn't the Angels try me --
Just -- once -- more --
Just -- see -- if I troubled them --
But don't -- shut the door!
Oh, if I -- were the Gentleman
In the "White Robe" --
And they -- were the little Hand -- that knocked --
Could -- I -- forbid?
Wild Nights -- Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Futile -- the Winds --
To a Heart in port --
Done with the Compass --
Done with the Chart!
Rowing in Eden --
Ah, the Sea!
Might I but moor -- Tonight --
I shall keep singing!
Birds will pass me
On their way to Yellower Climes --
Each -- with a Robin's expectation --
I -- with my Redbreast --
And my Rhymes --
Late -- when I take my place in summer --
But -- I shall bring a fuller tune --
Vespers -- are sweeter than Matins -- Signor --
Morning -- only the seed of Noon --
Over the fence --
Strawberries -- grow --
Over the fence --
I could climb -- if I tried, I know --
Berries are nice!
But -- if I stained my Apron --
God would certainly scold!
Oh, dear, -- I guess if He were a Boy --
He'd -- climb -- if He could!
I can wade Grief --
Whole Pools of it --
I'm used to that --
But the least push of Joy
Breaks up my feet --
And I tip -- drunken --
Let no Pebble -- smile --
'Twas the New Liquor --
That was all!
Power is only Pain --
Stranded, thro' Discipline,
Till Weights -- will hang --
Give Balm -- to Giants --
And they'll wilt, like Men --
Give Himmaleh --
They'll Carry -- Him!
You see I cannot see -- your lifetime --
I must guess --
How many times it ache for me -- today -- Confess --
How many times for my far sake
The brave eyes film --
But I guess guessing hurts --
Mine -- got so dim!
Too vague -- the face --
My own -- so patient -- covers --
Too far -- the strength --
My timidness enfolds --
Haunting the Heart --
Like her translated faces --
Teasing the want --
It -- only -- can suffice!
"Hope" is the thing with feathers --
That perches in the soul --
And sings the tune without the words --
And never stops -- at all --
And sweetest -- in the Gale -- is heard --
And sore must be the storm --
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm --
I've heard it in the chillest land --
And on the strangest Sea --
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb -- of Me.
To die -- takes just a little while --
They say it doesn't hurt --
It's only fainter -- by degrees --
And then -- it's out of sight --
A darker Ribbon -- for a Day --
A Crape upon the Hat --
And then the pretty sunshine comes --
And helps us to forget --
The absent -- mystic -- creature --
That but for love of us --
Had gone to sleep -- that soundest time --
Without the weariness --
If I'm lost -- now
That I was found --
Shall still my transport be --
That once -- on me -- those Jasper Gates
Blazed open -- suddenly --
That in my awkward -- gazing -- face --
The Angels -- softly peered --
And touched me with their fleeces,
Almost as if they cared --
I'm banished -- now -- you know it --
How foreign that can be --
You'll know -- Sir -- when the Savior's face
Turns so -- away from you --
Delight is as the flight --
Or in the Ratio of it,
As the Schools would say --
The Rainbow's way --
Flung colored, after Rain,
Would suit as bright,
Except that flight
Were Aliment --
"If it would last"
I asked the East,
When that Bent Stripe
Struck up my childish
And I, for glee,
Took Rainbows, as the common way,
And empty Skies
The Eccentricity --
And so with Lives --
And so with Butterflies --
Seen magic -- through the fright
That they will cheat the sight --
And Dower latitudes far on --
Some sudden morn --
Our portion -- in the fashion --
There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons --
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes --
Heavenly Hurt, it gives us --
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are --
None may teach it -- Any --
'Tis the Seal Despair --
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air --
When it comes, the Landscape listens --
Shadows -- hold their breath --
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death --
Good Night! Which put the Candle out?
A jealous Zephyr -- not a doubt --
Ah, friend, you little knew
How long at that celestial wick
The Angels -- labored diligent --
Extinguished -- now -- for you!
It might -- have been the Light House spark --
Some Sailor -- rowing in the Dark --
Had importuned to see!
It might -- have been the waning lamp
That lit the Drummer from the Camp
To purer Reveille!
Read -- Sweet -- how others -- strove --
Till we -- are stouter --
What they -- renounced --
Till we -- are less afraid --
How many times they -- bore the faithful witness --
Till we -- are helped --
As if a Kingdom -- cared!
Read then -- of faith --
That shone above the fagot --
Clear strains of Hymn
The River could not drown --
Brave names of Men --
And Celestial Women --
Passed out -- of Record
Into -- Renown!
Put up my lute!
What of -- my Music!
Since the sole ear I cared to charm --
Passive -- as Granite -- laps My Music --
Sobbing -- will suit -- as well as psalm!
Would but the "Memnon" of the Desert --
Teach me the strain
That vanquished Him --
When He -- surrendered to the Sunrise --
Maybe -- that -- would awaken -- them!
The lonesome for they know not What --
The Eastern Exiles -- be --
Who strayed beyond the Amber line
Some madder Holiday --
And ever since -- the purple Moat
They strive to climb -- in vain --
As Birds -- that tumble from the clouds
Do fumble at the strain --
The Blessed Ether -- taught them --
Some Transatlantic Morn --
When Heaven -- was too common -- to miss --
Too sure -- to dote upon!
A single Screw of Flesh
Is all that pins the Soul
That stands for Deity, to Mine,
Upon my side the Veil --
Once witnessed of the Gauze --
Its name is put away
As far from mine, as if no plight
Had printed yesterday,
In tender -- solemn Alphabet,
My eyes just turned to see,
When it was smuggled by my sight
Into Eternity --
More Hands -- to hold -- These are but Two --
One more new-mailed Nerve
Just granted, for the Peril's sake --
Some striding -- Giant -- Love --
So greater than the Gods can show,
They slink before the Clay,
That not for all their Heaven can boast
Will let its Keepsake -- go
A Weight with Needles on the pounds --
To push, and pierce, besides --
That if the Flesh resist the Heft --
The puncture -- coolly tries --
That not a pore be overlooked
Of all this Compound Frame --
As manifold for Anguish --
As Species -- be -- for name --
Where Ships of Purple -- gently toss --
On Seas of Daffodil --
Fantastic Sailors -- mingle --
And then -- the Wharf is still!
This -- is the land -- the Sunset washes --
These -- are the Banks of the Yellow Sea --
Where it rose -- or whither it rushes --
These -- are the Western Mystery!
Night after Night
Her purple traffic
Strews the landing with Opal Bales --
Merchantmen -- poise upon Horizons --
Dip -- and vanish like Orioles!
Did we disobey Him?
Just one time!
Charged us to forget Him --
But we couldn't learn!
Were Himself -- such a Dunce --
What would we -- do?
Love the dull lad -- best --
Oh, wouldn't you?
Me, change! Me, alter!
Then I will, when on the Everlasting Hill
A Smaller Purple grows --
At sunset, or a lesser glow
Flickers upon Cordillera --
At Day's superior close!
Bound -- a trouble --
And lives can bear it!
Limit -- how deep a bleeding go!
So -- many -- drops -- of vital scarlet --
Deal with the soul
As with Algebra!
Tell it the Ages -- to a cypher --
And it will ache -- contented -- on --
Sing -- at its pain -- as any Workman --
Notching the fall of the Even Sun!
One Life of so much Consequence!
Yet I -- for it -- would pay --
My Soul's entire income --
In ceaseless -- salary --
One Pearl -- to me -- so signal --
That I would instant dive --
Although -- I knew -- to take it --
Would cost me -- just a life!
The Sea is full -- I know it!
That -- does not blur my Gem!
It burns -- distinct from all the row --
Intact -- in Diadem!
The life is thick -- I know it!
Yet -- not so dense a crowd --
But Monarchs -- are perceptible --
Far down the dustiest Road!
A solemn thing -- it was -- I said --
A woman -- white -- to be --
And wear -- if God should count me fit --
Her blameless mystery --
A hallowed thing -- to drop a life
Into the purple well --
Too plummetless -- that it return --
Eternity -- until --
I pondered how the bliss would look --
And would it feel as big --
When I could take it in my hand --
As hovering -- seen -- through fog --
And then -- the size of this "small" life --
The Sages -- call it small --
Swelled -- like Horizons -- in my vest --
And I sneered -- softly -- "small"!
I breathed enough to take the Trick --
And now, removed from Air --
I simulate the Breath, so well --
That One, to be quite sure --
The Lungs are stirless -- must descend
Among the Cunning Cells --
And touch the Pantomine -- Himself,
How numb, the Bellows feels!
He put the Belt around my life
I heard the Buckle snap --
And turned away, imperial,
My Lifetime folding up --
Deliberate, as a Duke would do
A Kingdom's Title Deed --
Henceforth, a Dedicated sort --
A Member of the Cloud.
Yet not too far to come at call --
And do the little Toils
That make the Circuit of the Rest --
And deal occasional smiles
To lives that stoop to notice mine --
And kindly ask it in --
Whose invitation, know you not
For Whom I must decline?
The only Ghost I ever saw
Was dressed in Mechlin -- so --
He wore no sandal on his foot --
And stepped like flakes of snow --
His Gait -- was soundless, like the Bird --
But rapid -- like the Roe --
His fashions, quaint, Mosaic --
Or haply, Mistletoe --
His conversation -- seldom --
His laughter, like the Breeze --
That dies away in Dimples
Among the pensive Trees --
Our interview -- was transient --
Of me, himself was shy --
And God forbid I look behind --
Since that appalling Day!
Doubt Me! My Dim Companion!
Why, God, would be content
With but a fraction of the Life --
Poured thee, without a stint --
The whole of me -- forever --
What more the Woman can,
Say quick, that I may dower thee
With last Delight I own!
It cannot be my Spirit --
For that was thine, before --
I ceded all of Dust I knew --
What Opulence the more
Had I -- a freckled Maiden,
Whose farthest of Degree,
Was -- that she might --
Some distant Heaven,
Dwell timidly, with thee!
Sift her, from Brow to Barefoot!
Strain till your last Surmise --
Drop, like a Tapestry, away,
Before the Fire's Eyes --
Winnow her finest fondness --
But hallow just the snow
Intact, in Everlasting flake --
Oh, Caviler, for you!
Many a phrase has the English language --
I have heard but one --
Low as the laughter of the Cricket,
Loud, as the Thunder's Tongue --
Murmuring, like old Caspian Choirs,
When the Tide's a' lull --
Saying itself in new infection --
Like a Whippoorwill --
Breaking in bright Orthography
On my simple sleep --
Thundering its Prospective --
Till I stir, and weep --
Not for the Sorrow, done me --
But the push of Joy --
Say it again, Saxton!
Hush -- Only to me!
What if I say I shall not wait!
What if I burst the fleshly Gate --
And pass escaped -- to thee!
What if I file this Mortal -- off --
See where it hurt me -- That's enough --
And wade in Liberty!
They cannot take me -- any more!
Dungeons can call -- and Guns implore
Unmeaning -- now -- to me --
As laughter -- was -- an hour ago --
Or Laces -- or a Travelling Show --
Or who died -- yesterday!
A shady friend -- for Torrid days --
Is easier to find --
Than one of higher temperature
For Frigid -- hour of Mind --
The Vane a little to the East --
Scares Muslin souls -- away --
If Broadcloth Hearts are firmer --
Than those of Organdy --
Who is to blame? The Weaver?
Ah, the bewildering thread!
The Tapestries of Paradise
So notelessly -- are made!
Tie the Strings to my Life, My Lord,
Then, I am ready to go!
Just a look at the Horses --
Rapid! That will do!
Put me in on the firmest side --
So I shall never fall --
For we must ride to the Judgment --
And it's partly, down Hill --
But never I mind the steeper --
And never I mind the Sea --
Held fast in Everlasting Race --
By my own Choice, and Thee --
Goodbye to the Life I used to live --
And the World I used to know --
And kiss the Hills, for me, just once --
Then -- I am ready to go!
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading -- treading -- till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through --
And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum --
Kept beating -- beating -- till I thought
My Mind was going numb --
And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space -- began to toll,
As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race
Wrecked, solitary, here --
And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down --
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing -- then --
'Tis so appalling -- it exhilarates --
So over Horror, it half Captivates --
The Soul stares after it, secure --
A Sepulchre, fears frost, no more --
To scan a Ghost, is faint --
But grappling, conquers it --
How easy, Torment, now --
Suspense kept sawing so --
The Truth, is Bald, and Cold --
But that will hold --
If any are not sure --
We show them -- prayer --
But we, who know,
Stop hoping, now --
Looking at Death, is Dying --
Just let go the Breath --
And not the pillow at your Cheek
So Slumbereth --
Others, Can wrestle --
Yours, is done --
And so of Woe, bleak dreaded -- come,
It sets the Fright at liberty --
And Terror's free --
Gay, Ghastly, Holiday!
How noteless Men, and Pleiads, stand,
Until a sudden sky
Reveals the fact that One is rapt
Forever from the Eye --
Members of the Invisible,
Existing, while we stare,
In Leagueless Opportunity,
O'ertakenless, as the Air --
Why didn't we detain Them?
The Heavens with a smile,
Sweep by our disappointed Heads
Without a syllable --
A Mien to move a Queen --
Half Child -- Half Heroine --
An Orleans in the Eye
That puts its manner by
For humbler Company
When none are near
Even a Tear --
Its frequent Visitor --
A Bonnet like a Duke --
And yet a Wren's Peruke
Were not so shy
Of Goer by --
And Hands -- so slight --
They would elate a Sprite
With Merriment --
A Voice that Alters -- Low
And on the Ear can go
Like Let of Snow --
Or shift supreme --
As tone of Realm
On Subjects Diadem --
Too small -- to fear --
Too distant -- to endear --
And so Men Compromise
And just -- revere --
The Drop, that wrestles in the Sea --
Forgets her own locality --
As I -- toward Thee --
She knows herself an incense small --
Yet small -- she sighs -- if All -- is All --
How larger -- be?
The Ocean -- smiles -- at her Conceit --
But she, forgetting Amphitrite --
Pleads -- "Me"?
The Robin's my Criterion for Tune --
Because I grow -- where Robins do --
But, were I Cuckoo born --
I'd swear by him --
The ode familiar -- rules the Noon --
The Buttercup's, my Whim for Bloom --
Because, we're Orchard sprung --
But, were I Britain born,
I'd Daisies spurn --
None but the Nut -- October fit --
Because, through dropping it,
The Seasons flit -- I'm taught --
Without the Snow's Tableau
Winter, were lie -- to me --
Because I see -- New Englandly --
The Queen, discerns like me --
That after Horror -- that 'twas us --
That passed the mouldering Pier --
Just as the Granite Crumb let go --
Our Savior, by a Hair --
A second more, had dropped too deep
For Fisherman to plumb --
The very profile of the Thought
Puts Recollection numb --
The possibility -- to pass
Without a Moment's Bell --
Into Conjecture's presence --
Is like a Face of Steel --
That suddenly looks into ours
With a metallic grin --
The Cordiality of Death --
Who drills his Welcome in --
A Clock stopped --
Not the Mantel's --
Geneva's farthest skill
Can't put the puppet bowing --
That just now dangled still --
An awe came on the Trinket!
The Figures hunched, with pain --
Then quivered out of Decimals --
Into Degreeless Noon --
It will not stir for Doctors --
This Pendulum of snow --
This Shopman importunes it --
While cool -- concernless No --
Nods from the Gilded pointers --
Nods from the Seconds slim --
Decades of Arrogance between
The Dial life --
And Him --
I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you -- Nobody -- Too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise -- you know!
How dreary -- to be -- Somebody!
How public -- like a Frog --
To tell one's name -- the livelong June --
To an admiring Bog!
I know some lonely Houses off the Road
A Robber'd like the look of --
And Windows hanging low,
Inviting to --
Where two could creep --
One -- hand the Tools --
The other peep --
To make sure All's Asleep --
Old fashioned eyes --
Not easy to surprise!
How orderly the Kitchen'd look, by night,
With just a Clock --
But they could gag the Tick --
And Mice won't bark --
And so the Walls -- don't tell --
None -- will --
A pair of Spectacles ajar just stir --
An Almanac's aware --
Was it the Mat -- winked,
Or a Nervous Star?
The Moon -- slides down the stair,
To see who's there!
There's plunder -- where --
Tankard, or Spoon --
Earring -- or Stone --
A Watch -- Some Ancient Brooch
To match the Grandmama --
Staid sleeping -- there --
Day -- rattles -- too
Stealth's -- slow --
The Sun has got as far
As the third Sycamore --
And Echoes -- Trains away,
Sneer -- "Where"!
While the old Couple, just astir,
Fancy the Sunrise -- left the door ajar!
Of Bronze -- and Blaze --
The North -- Tonight --
So adequate -- it forms --
So preconcerted with itself --
So distant -- to alarms --
And Unconcern so sovereign
To Universe, or me --
Infects my simple spirit
With Taints of Majesty --
Till I take vaster attitudes --
And strut upon my stem --
Disdaining Men, and Oxygen,
For Arrogance of them --
My Splendors, are Menagerie --
But their Completeless Show
Will entertain the Centuries
When I, am long ago,
An Island in dishonored Grass --
Whom none but Beetles -- know.
How the old Mountains drip with Sunset
How the Hemlocks burn --
How the Dun Brake is draped in Cinder
By the Wizard Sun --
How the old Steeples hand the Scarlet
Till the Ball is full --
Have I the lip of the Flamingo
That I dare to tell?
Then, how the Fire ebbs like Billows --
Touching all the Grass
With a departing -- Sapphire -- feature --
As a Duchess passed --
How a small Dusk crawls on the Village
Till the Houses blot
And the odd Flambeau, no men carry
Glimmer on the Street --
How it is Night -- in Nest and Kennel --
And where was the Wood --
Just a Dome of Abyss is Bowing
Into Solitude --
These are the Visions flitted Guido --
Titian -- never told --
Domenichino dropped his pencil --
Paralyzed, with Gold --
If your Nerve, deny you --
Go above your Nerve --
He can lean against the Grave,
If he fear to swerve --
That's a steady posture --
Never any bend
Held of those Brass arms --
Best Giant made --
If your Soul seesaw --
Lift the Flesh door --
The Poltroon wants Oxygen --
Nothing more --
I got so I could take his name --
Without -- Tremendous gain --
That Stop-sensation -- on my Soul --
And Thunder -- in the Room --
I got so I could walk across
That Angle in the floor,
Where he turned so, and I turned -- how --
And all our Sinew tore --
I got so I could stir the Box --
In which his letters grew
Without that forcing, in my breath --
As Staples -- driven through --
Could dimly recollect a Grace --
I think, they call it "God" --
Renowned to ease Extremity --
When Formula, had failed --
And shape my Hands --
Tho' ignorant of a word
That Ordination -- utters --
My Business, with the Cloud,
If any Power behind it, be,
Not subject to Despair --
It care, in some remoter way,
For so minute affair
As Misery --
Itself, too vast, for interrupting -- more --
The Doomed -- regard the Sunrise
With different Delight --
Because -- when next it burns abroad
They doubt to witness it --
The Man -- to die -- tomorrow --
Harks for the Meadow Bird --
Because its Music stirs the Axe
That clamors for his head --
Joyful -- to whom the Sunrise
Precedes Enamored -- Day --
Joyful -- for whom the Meadow Bird
Has ought but Elegy!
Unto like Story -- Trouble has enticed me --
How Kinsmen fell --
Brothers and Sister -- who preferred the Glory --
And their young will
Bent to the Scaffold, or in Dungeons -- chanted --
Till God's full time --
When they let go the ignominy -- smiling --
And Shame went still --
Unto guessed Crests, my moaning fancy, leads me,
By Heads rejected -- in the lower country --
Of honors there --
Such spirit makes her perpetual mention,
That I -- grown bold --
Step martial -- at my Crucifixion --
As Trumpets -- rolled --
Feet, small as mine -- have marched in Revolution
Firm to the Drum --
Hands -- not so stout -- hoisted them -- in witness --
When Speech went numb --
Let me not shame their sublime deportments --
Drilled bright --
Beckoning -- Etruscan invitation --
Toward Light --
One Year ago -- jots what?
God -- spell the word! I -- can't --
Was't Grace? Not that --
Was't Glory? That -- will do --
Spell slower -- Glory --
Such Anniversary shall be --
Sometimes -- not often -- in Eternity --
When farther Parted, than the Common Woe --
Look -- feed upon each other's faces -- so --
In doubtful meal, if it be possible
Their Banquet's true --
I tasted -- careless -- then --
I did not know the Wine
Came once a World -- Did you?
Oh, had you told me so --
This Thirst would blister -- easier -- now --
You said it hurt you -- most --
Mine -- was an Acorn's Breast --
And could not know how fondness grew
In Shaggier Vest --
Perhaps -- I couldn't --
But, had you looked in --
A Giant -- eye to eye with you, had been --
No Acorn -- then --
So -- Twelve months ago --
We breathed --
Then dropped the Air --
Which bore it best?
Was this -- the patientest --
Because it was a Child, you know --
And could not value -- Air?
If to be "Elder" -- mean most pain --
I'm old enough, today, I'm certain -- then --
As old as thee -- how soon?
One -- Birthday more -- or Ten?
Let me -- choose!
Ah, Sir, None!
It's like the Light --
A fashionless Delight --
It's like the Bee --
A dateless -- Melody --
It's like the Woods --
Private -- Like the Breeze --
Phraseless -- yet it stirs
The proudest Trees --
It's like the Morning --
Best -- when it's done --
And the Everlasting Clocks --
Chime -- Noon!
Alone, I cannot be --
For Hosts -- do visit me --
Recordless Company --
Who baffle Key --
They have no Robes, nor Names --
No Almanacs -- nor Climes --
But general Homes
Like Gnomes --
Their Coming, may be known
By Couriers within --
Their going -- is not --
For they've never gone --
Your Riches -- taught me -- Poverty.
Myself -- a Millionaire
In little Wealths, as Girls could boast
Till broad as Buenos Ayre --
You drifted your Dominions --
A Different Peru --
And I esteemed All Poverty
For Life's Estate with you --
Of Mines, I little know -- myself --
But just the names, of Gems --
The Colors of the Commonest --
And scarce of Diadems --
So much, that did I meet the Queen --
Her Glory I should know --
But this, must be a different Wealth --
To miss it -- beggars so --
I'm sure 'tis India -- all Day --
To those who look on You --
Without a stint -- without a blame,
Might I -- but be the Jew --
I'm sure it is Golconda --
Beyond my power to deem --
To have a smile for Mine -- each Day,
How better, than a Gem!
At least, it solaces to know
That there exists -- a Gold --
Altho' I prove it, just in time
Its distance -- to behold --
Its far -- far Treasure to surmise --
And estimate the Pearl --
That slipped my simple fingers through --
While just a Girl at School.
"Morning" -- means "Milking" -- to the Farmer --
Dawn -- to the Teneriffe --
Dice -- to the Maid --
Morning means just Risk -- to the Lover --
Just revelation -- to the Beloved --
Epicures -- date a Breakfast -- by it --
Brides -- an Apocalypse --
Worlds -- a Flood --
Faint-going Lives -- Their Lapse from Sighing --
Faith -- The Experiment of Our Lord
I reason, Earth is short --
And Anguish -- absolute --
And many hurt,
But, what of that?
I reason, we could die --
The best Vitality
Cannot excel Decay,
But, what of that?
I reason, that in Heaven --
Somehow, it will be even --
Some new Equation, given --
But, what of that?
Like Some Old fashioned Miracle
When Summertime is done --
Seems Summer's Recollection
And the Affairs of June
As infinite Tradition
As Cinderella's Bays --
Or Little John -- of Lincoln Green --
Or Blue Beard's Galleries --
Her Bees have a fictitious Hum --
Her Blossoms, like a Dream --
Elate us -- till we almost weep --
So plausible -- they seem --
Her Memories like Strains -- Review --
When Orchestra is dumb --
The Violin in Baize replaced --
And Ear -- and Heaven -- numb --
The Soul selects her own Society --
Then -- shuts the Door --
To her divine Majority --
Present no more --
Unmoved -- she notes the Chariots -- pausing --
At her low Gate --
Unmoved -- an Emperor be kneeling
Upon her Mat --
I've known her -- from an ample nation --
Choose One --
Then -- close the Valves of her attention --
Like Stone --
The Day came slow -- till Five o'clock --
Then sprang before the Hills
Like Hindered Rubies -- or the Light
A Sudden Musket -- spills --
The Purple could not keep the East --
The Sunrise shook abroad
Like Breadths of Topaz -- packed a Night --
The Lady just unrolled --
The Happy Winds -- their Timbrels took --
The Birds -- in docile Rows
Arranged themselves around their Prince
The Wind -- is Prince of Those --
The Orchard sparkled like a Jew --
How mighty 'twas -- to be
A Guest in this stupendous place --
The Parlor -- of the Day --
The difference between Despair
And Fear -- is like the One
Between the instant of a Wreck
And when the Wreck has been --
The Mind is smooth -- no Motion --
Contented as the Eye
Upon the Forehead of a Bust --
That knows -- it cannot see --
The Soul's Superior instants
Occur to Her -- alone --
When friend -- and Earth's occasion
Have infinite withdrawn --
Or She -- Herself -- ascended
To too remote a Height
For lower Recognition
Than Her Omnipotent --
This Mortal Abolition
Is seldom -- but as fair
As Apparition -- subject
To Autocratic Air --
To favorites -- a few --
Of the Colossal substance
The One who could repeat the Summer day --
Were greater than itself -- though He
Minutest of Mankind should be --
And He -- could reproduce the Sun --
At period of going down --
The Lingering -- and the Stain -- I mean --
When Orient have been outgrown
And Occident -- become Unknown --
His Name -- remain --
I send Two Sunsets --
Day and I -- in competition ran --
I finished Two -- and several Stars --
While He -- was making One --
His own was ampler -- but as I
Was saying to a friend --
Mine -- is the more convenient
To Carry in the Hand --
For largest Woman's Hearth I knew --
'Tis little I can do --
And yet the largest Woman's Heart
Could hold an Arrow -- too --
And so, instructed by my own,
I tenderer, turn Me to.
Give little Anguish --
Lives will fret --
Give Avalanches --
And they'll slant --
Straighten -- look cautious for their Breath --
But make no syllable -- like Death --
Who only shows the Marble Disc --
Sublimer sort -- than Speech --
It sifts from Leaden Sieves --
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road --
It makes an Even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain --
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again --
It reaches to the Fence --
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces --
It deals Celestial Vail
To Stump, and Stack -- and Stem --
A Summer's empty Room --
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them--
It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen --
Then stills its Artisans -- like Ghosts --
Denying they have been --
Her -- "last Poems" --
Poets -- ended --
Silver -- perished -- with her Tongue --
Not on Record -- bubbled other,
Flute -- or Woman --
So divine --
Not unto its Summer -- Morning
Robin -- uttered Half the Tune --
Gushed too free for the Adoring --
From the Anglo-Florentine --
Late -- the Praise --
'Tis dull -- conferring
On the Head too High to Crown --
Diadem -- or Ducal Showing --
Be its Grave -- sufficient sign --
Nought -- that We -- No Poet's Kinsman --
Suffocate -- with easy woe --
What, and if, Ourself a Bridegroom --
Put Her down -- in Italy?
I should have been too glad, I see --
Too lifted -- for the scant degree
Of Life's penurious Round --
My little Circuit would have shamed
This new Circumference -- have blamed --
The homelier time behind.
I should have been too saved -- I see --
Too rescued -- Fear too dim to me
That I could spell the Prayer
I knew so perfect -- yesterday --
That Scalding One -- Sabachthani --
Recited fluent -- here --
Earth would have been too much -- I see --
And Heaven -- not enough for me --
I should have had the Joy
Without the Fear -- to justify --
The Palm -- without the Calvary --
So Savior -- Crucify --
Defeat -- whets Victory -- they say --
The Reefs -- in old Gethsemane --
Endear the Coast -- beyond!
'Tis Beggars -- Banquets -- can define --
'Tis Parching -- vitalizes Wine --
"Faith" bleats -- to understand!
Nature -- sometimes sears a Sapling --
Sometimes -- scalps a Tree --
Her Green People recollect it
When they do not die --
Fainter Leaves -- to Further Seasons --
Dumbly testify --
We -- who have the Souls --
Die oftener -- Not so vitally --
He fumbles at your Soul
As Players at the Keys
Before they drop full Music on --
He stuns you by degrees --
Prepares your brittle Nature
For the Ethereal Blow
By fainter Hammers -- further heard --
Then nearer -- Then so slow
Your Breath has time to straighten --
Your Brain -- to bubble Cool --
Deals -- One -- imperial -- Thunderbolt --
That scalps your naked Soul --
When Winds take Forests in the Paws --
The Universe -- is still --
The Wind didn't come from the Orchard -- today --
Further than that --
Nor stop to play with the Hay --
Nor joggle a Hat --
He's a transitive fellow -- very --
Rely on that --
If He leave a Bur at the door
We know He has climbed a Fir --
But the Fir is Where -- Declare --
Were you ever there?
If He brings Odors of Clovers --
And that is His business -- not Ours --
Then He has been with the Mowers --
Whetting away the Hours
To sweet pauses of Hay --
His Way -- of a June Day --
If He fling Sand, and Pebble --
Little Boys Hats -- and Stubble --
With an occasional Steeple --
And a hoarse "Get out of the way, I say,"
Who'd be the fool to stay?
Would you -- Say --
Would you be the fool to stay?
Just so -- Jesus -- raps --
He -- doesn't weary --
Last -- at the Knocker --
And first -- at the Bell.
Then -- on divinest tiptoe -- standing --
Might He but spy the lady's soul --
When He -- retires --
Chilled -- or weary --
It will be ample time for -- me --
Patient -- upon the steps -- until then --
Hears! I am knocking -- low at thee.
I'll tell you how the Sun rose --
A Ribbon at a time --
The Steeples swam in Amethyst --
The news, like Squirrels, ran --
The Hills untied their Bonnets --
The Bobolinks -- begun --
Then I said softly to myself --
"That must have been the Sun"!
But how he set -- I know not --
There seemed a purple stile
That little Yellow boys and girls
Were climbing all the while --
Till when they reached the other side,
A Dominie in Gray --
Put gently up the evening Bars --
And led the flock away --
The nearest Dream recedes -- unrealized --
The Heaven we chase,
Like the June Bee -- before the School Boy,
Invites the Race --
Stoops -- to an easy Clover --
Dips -- evades -- teases -- deploys --
Then -- to the Royal Clouds
Lifts his light Pinnace --
Heedless of the Boy --
Staring -- bewildered -- at the mocking sky --
Homesick for steadfast Honey --
Ah, the Bee flies not
That brews that rare variety!
We play at Paste --
Till qualified, for Pearl --
Then, drop the Paste --
And deem ourself a fool --
The Shapes -- though -- were similar --
And our new Hands
Learned Gem-Tactics --
Practicing Sands --
Of all the Sounds despatched abroad,
There's not a Charge to me
Like that old measure in the Boughs --
That phraseless Melody --
The Wind does -- working like a Hand,
Whose fingers Comb the Sky --
Then quiver down -- with tufts of Tune --
Permitted Gods, and me --
Inheritance, it is, to us --
Beyond the Art to Earn --
Beyond the trait to take away
By Robber, since the Gain
Is gotten not of fingers --
And inner than the Bone --
Hid golden, for the whole of Days,
And even in the Urn,
I cannot vouch the merry Dust
Do not arise and play
In some odd fashion of its own,
Some quainter Holiday,
When Winds go round and round in Bands --
And thrum upon the door,
And Birds take places, overhead,
To bear them Orchestra.
I crave Him grace of Summer Boughs,
If such an Outcast be --
Who never heard that fleshless Chant --
Rise -- solemn -- on the Tree,
As if some Caravan of Sound
Off Deserts, in the Sky,
Had parted Rank,
Then knit, and swept --
In Seamless Company --
There came a Day at Summer's full,
Entirely for me --
I thought that such were for the Saints,
Where Resurrections -- be --
The Sun, as common, went abroad,
The flowers, accustomed, blew,
As if no soul the solstice passed
That maketh all things new --
The time was scarce profaned, by speech --
The symbol of a word
Was needless, as at Sacrament,
The Wardrobe -- of our Lord --
Each was to each The Sealed Church,
Permitted to commune this -- time --
Lest we too awkward show
At Supper of the Lamb.
The Hours slid fast -- as Hours will,
Clutched tight, by greedy hands --
So faces on two Decks, look back,
Bound to opposing lands --
And so when all the time had leaked,
Without external sound
Each bound the Other's Crucifix --
We gave no other Bond --
Sufficient troth, that we shall rise --
Deposed -- at length, the Grave --
To that new Marriage,
Justified -- through Calvaries of Love --
As if I asked a common Alms,
And in my wondering hand
A Stranger pressed a Kingdom,
And I, bewildered, stand --
As if I asked the Orient
Had it for me a Morn --
And it should lift its purple Dikes,
And shatter me with Dawn!
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church --
I keep it, staying at Home --
With a Bobolink for a Chorister --
And an Orchard, for a Dome --
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice --
I just wear my Wings --
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton -- sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman --
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at least --
I'm going, all along.
Of Tribulation, these are They,
Denoted by the White --
The Spangled Gowns, a lesser Rank
Of Victors -- designate --
All these -- did conquer --
But the ones who overcame most times --
Wear nothing commoner than Snow --
No Ornament, but Palms --
Surrender -- is a sort unknown --
On this superior soil --
Defeat -- an outgrown Anguish --
Remembered, as the Mile
Our panting Ankle barely passed --
When Night devoured the Road --
But we -- stood whispering in the House --
And all we said -- was "Saved"!
I cannot dance upon my Toes --
No Man instructed me --
But oftentimes, among my mind,
A Glee possesseth me,
That had I Ballet knowledge --
Would put itself abroad
In Pirouette to blanch a Troupe --
Or lay a Prima, mad,
And though I had no Gown of Gauze --
No Ringlet, to my Hair,
Nor hopped to Audiences -- like Birds,
One Claw upon the Air,
Nor tossed my shape in Eider Balls,
Nor rolled on wheels of snow
Till I was out of sight, in sound,
The House encore me so --
Nor any know I know the Art
I mention -- easy -- Here --
Nor any Placard boast me --
It's full as Opera --
Before I got my eye put out
I liked as well to see --
As other Creatures, that have Eyes
And know no other way --
But were it told to me -- Today --
That I might have the sky
For mine -- I tell you that my Heart
Would split, for size of me --
The Meadows -- mine --
The Mountains -- mine --
All Forests -- Stintless Stars --
As much of Noon as I could take
Between my finite eyes --
The Motions of the Dipping Birds --
The Morning's Amber Road --
For mine -- to look at when I liked --
The News would strike me dead --
So safer -- guess -- with just my soul
Upon the Window pane --
Where other Creatures put their eyes --
Incautious -- of the Sun --
A Bird came down the Walk --
He did not know I saw --
He bit an Angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,
And then he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass --
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass --
He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all around --
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought --
He stirred his Velvet Head
Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home --
Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam --
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon
Leap, plashless as they swim.
So glad we are -- a Stranger'd deem
'Twas sorry, that we were --
For where the Holiday should be
There publishes a Tear --
Nor how Ourselves be justified --
Since Grief and Joy are done
So similar -- An Optizan
Could not decide between --
The Juggler's Hat her Country is --
The Mountain Gorse -- the Bee's!
While Asters --
On the Hill --
Their Everlasting fashions -- set --
And Covenant Gentians -- Frill!
There are two Ripenings -- one -- of sight --
Whose forces Spheric wind
Until the Velvet product
Drop spicy to the ground --
A homelier maturing --
A process in the Bur --
That teeth of Frosts alone disclose
In far October Air.
The Grass so little has to do --
A Sphere of simple Green --
With only Butterflies to brood
And Bees to entertain --
And stir all day to pretty Tunes
The Breezes fetch along --
And hold the Sunshine in its lap
And bow to everything --
And thread the Dews, all night, like Pearls --
And make itself so fine
A Duchess were too common
For such a noticing --
And even when it dies -- to pass
In Odors so divine --
Like Lowly spices, lain to sleep --
Or Spikenards, perishing --
And then, in Sovereign Barns to dwell --
And dream the Days away,
The Grass so little has to do
I wish I were a Hay --
All the letters I can write
Are not fair as this --
Syllables of Velvet --
Sentences of Plush,
Depths of Ruby, undrained,
Hid, Lip, for Thee --
Play it were a Humming Bird --
And just sipped -- me --
'Tis not that Dying hurts us so --
'Tis Living -- hurts us more --
But Dying -- is a different way --
A Kind behind the Door --
The Southern Custom -- of the Bird --
That ere the Frosts are due --
Accepts a better Latitude --
We -- are the Birds -- that stay.
The Shrivers round Farmers' doors --
For whose reluctant Crumb --
We stipulate -- till pitying Snows
Persuade our Feathers Home.
The face I carry with me -- last --
When I go out of Time --
To take my Rank -- by -- in the West --
That face -- will just be thine --
I'll hand it to the Angel --
That -- Sir -- was my Degree --
In Kingdoms -- you have heard the Raised --
Refer to -- possibly.
He'll take it -- scan it -- step aside --
Return -- with such a crown
As Gabriel -- never capered at --
And beg me put it on --
And then -- he'll turn me round and round --
To an admiring sky --
As one that bore her Master's name --
I know a place where Summer strives
With such a practised Frost --
She -- each year -- leads her Daisies back --
Recording briefly -- "Lost" --
But when the South Wind stirs the Pools
And struggles in the lanes --
Her Heart misgives Her, for Her Vow --
And she pours soft Refrains
Into the lap of Adamant --
And spices -- and the Dew --
That stiffens quietly to Quartz --
Upon her Amber Shoe --
I know that He exists.
Somewhere -- in Silence --
He has hid his rare life
From our gross eyes.
'Tis an instant's play.
'Tis a fond Ambush --
Just to make Bliss
Earn her own surprise!
But -- should the play
Prove piercing earnest --
Should the glee -- glaze --
In Death's -- stiff -- stare --
Would not the fun
Look too expensive!
Would not the jest --
Have crawled too far!
I tend my flowers for thee --
My Fuchsia's Coral Seams
Rip -- while the Sower -- dreams --
Geraniums -- tint -- and spot --
Low Daisies -- dot --
My Cactus -- splits her Beard
To show her throat --
Carnations -- tip their spice --
And Bees -- pick up --
A Hyacinth -- I hid --
Puts out a Ruffled Head --
And odors fall
From flasks -- so small --
You marvel how they held --
Globe Roses -- break their satin glake --
Upon my Garden floor --
Yet -- thou -- not there --
I had as lief they bore
No Crimson -- more --
Thy flower -- be gay --
Her Lord -- away!
It ill becometh me --
I'll dwell in Calyx -- Gray --
How modestly -- alway --
Thy Daisy --
Draped for thee!
Is Bliss then, such Abyss,
I must not put my foot amiss
For fear I spoil my shoe?
I'd rather suit my foot
Than save my Boot --
For yet to buy another Pair
At any store --
But Bliss, is sold just once.
The Patent lost
None buy it any more --
Say, Foot, decide the point --
The Lady cross, or not?
Verdict for Boot!
After great pain, a formal feeling comes --
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs --
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?
The Feet, mechanical, go round --
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought --
A Wooden way
A Quartz contentment, like a stone --
This is the Hour of Lead --
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow --
First -- Chill -- then Stupor -- then the letting go --
It will be Summer -- eventually.
Ladies -- with parasols --
Sauntering Gentlemen -- with Canes --
And little Girls -- with Dolls --
Will tint the pallid landscape --
As 'twere a bright Bouquet --
Thro' drifted deep, in Parian --
The Village lies -- today --
The Lilacs -- bending many a year --
Will sway with purple load --
The Bees -- will not despise the tune --
Their Forefathers -- have hummed --
The Wild Rose -- redden in the Bog --
The Aster -- on the Hill
Her everlasting fashion -- set --
And Covenant Gentians -- frill --
Till Summer folds her miracle --
As Women -- do -- their Gown --
Of Priests -- adjust the Symbols --
When Sacrament -- is done --
My Reward for Being, was This.
My premium -- My Bliss --
An Admiralty, less --
A Sceptre -- penniless --
And Realms -- just Dross --
When Thrones accost my Hands --
With "Me, Miss, Me" --
I'll unroll Thee --
Dominions dowerless -- beside this Grace --
Election -- Vote --
The Ballots of Eternity, will show just that.
'Twas the old -- road -- through pain --
That unfrequented -- one --
With many a turn -- and thorn --
That stops -- at Heaven --
This -- was the Town -- she passed --
There -- where she -- rested -- last --
Then -- stepped more fast --
The little tracks -- close prest --
Then -- not so swift --
Slow -- slow -- as feet did weary -- grow --
Then -- stopped -- no other track!
Wait! Look! Her little Book --
The leaf -- at love -- turned back --
Her very Hat --
And this worn shoe just fits the track --
Herself -- though -- fled!
Another bed -- a short one --
Women make -- tonight --
In Chambers bright --
Too out of sight -- though --
For our hoarse Good Night --
To touch her Head!
Funny -- to be a Century --
And see the People -- going by --
I -- should die of the Oddity --
But then -- I'm not so staid -- as He --
He keeps His Secrets safely -- very --
Were He to tell -- extremely sorry
This Bashful Globe of Ours would be --
So dainty of Publicity --
Not probable -- The barest Chance --
A smile too few -- a word too much
And far from Heaven as the Rest --
The Soul so close on Paradise --
What if the Bird from journey far --
Confused by Sweets -- as Mortals -- are --
Forget the secret of His wing
And perish -- but a Bough between --
Oh, Groping feet --
Oh Phantom Queen!
When Night is almost done --
And Sunrise grows so near
That we can touch the Spaces --
It's time to smooth the Hair --
And get the Dimples ready --
And wonder we could care
For that old -- faded Midnight --
That frightened -- but an Hour --
I dreaded that first Robin, so,
But He is mastered, now,
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 --
I dared not meet the Daffodils --
For fear their Yellow Gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own --
I wished the Grass would hurry --
So -- when 'twas time to see --
He'd be too tall, the tallest one
Could stretch -- to look at me --
I could not bear the Bees should come,
I wished they'd stay away
In those dim countries where they go,
What word had they, for me?
They're here, though; not a creature failed --
No Blossom stayed away
In gentle deference to me --
The Queen of Calvary --
Each one salutes me, as he goes,
And I, my childish Plumes,
Lift, in bereaved acknowledgment
Of their unthinking Drums --
I had the Glory -- that will do --
An Honor, Thought can turn her to
When lesser Fames invite --
With one long "Nay" --
Bliss' early shape
Deforming -- Dwindling -- Gulfing up --
They leave us with the Infinite.
But He -- is not a man --
His fingers are the size of fists --
His fists, the size of men --
And whom he foundeth, with his Arm
As Himmaleh, shall stand --
Gibraltar's Everlasting Shoe
Poised lightly on his Hand,
So trust him, Comrade --
You for you, and I, for you and me
Eternity is ample,
And quick enough, if true.
I felt my life with both my hands
To see if it was there --
I held my spirit to the Glass,
To prove it possibler --
I turned my Being round and round
And paused at every pound
To ask the Owner's name --
For doubt, that I should know the Sound --
I judged my features -- jarred my hair --
I pushed my dimples by, and waited --
If they -- twinkled back --
Conviction might, of me --
I told myself, "Take Courage, Friend --
That -- was a former time --
But we might learn to like the Heaven,
As well as our Old Home!"
Perhaps I asked too large --
I take -- no less than skies --
For Earths, grow thick as
Berries, in my native town --
My Basked holds -- just -- Firmaments --
Those -- dangle easy -- on my arm,
But smaller bundles -- Cram.
A happy lip -- breaks sudden --
It doesn't state you how
It contemplated -- smiling --
Just consummated -- now --
But this one, wears its merriment
So patient -- like a pain --
Fresh gilded -- to elude the eyes
Unqualified, to scan --
From Cocoon forth a Butterfly
As Lady from her Door
Emerged -- a Summer Afternoon --
Repairing Everywhere --
Without Design -- that I could trace
Except to stray abroad
On Miscellaneous Enterprise
The Clovers -- understood --
Her pretty Parasol be seen
Contracting in a Field
Where Men made Hay --
Then struggling hard
With an opposing Cloud --
Where Parties -- Phantom as Herself --
To Nowhere -- seemed to go
In purposeless Circumference --
As 'twere a Tropic Show --
And notwithstanding Bee -- that worked --
And Flower -- that zealous blew --
This Audience of Idleness
Disdained them, from the Sky --
Till Sundown crept -- a steady Tide --
And Men that made the Hay --
And Afternoon -- and Butterfly --
Extinguished -- in the Sea --
'Tis Opposites -- entice --
Deformed Men -- ponder Grace --
Bright fires -- the Blanketless --
The Lost -- Day's face --
The Blind -- esteem it be
Enough Estate -- to see --
The Captive -- strangles new --
For deeming -- Beggars -- play --
To lack -- enamor Thee --
Tho' the Divinity --
The Day that I was crowned
Was like the other Days --
Until the Coronation came --
And then -- 'twas Otherwise --
As Carbon in the Coal
And Carbon in the Gem
Are One -- and yet the former
Were dull for Diadem --
I rose, and all was plain --
But when the Day declined
Myself and It, in Majesty
Were equally -- adorned --
The Grace that I -- was chose --
To Me -- surpassed the Crown
That was the Witness for the Grace --
'Twas even that 'twas Mine --
God is a distant -- stately Lover --
Woos, as He states us -- by His Son --
Verily, a Vicarious Courtship --
"Miles", and "Priscilla", were such an One --
But, lest the Soul -- like fair "Priscilla"
Choose the Envoy -- and spurn the Groom --
Vouches, with hyperbolic archness --
"Miles", and "John Alden" were Synonym --
If any sink, assure that this, now standing --
Failed like Themselves -- and conscious that it rose --
Grew by the Fact, and not the Understanding
How Weakness passed -- or Force -- arose --
Tell that the Worst, is easy in a Moment --
Dread, but the Whizzing, before the Ball --
When the Ball enters, enters Silence --
Dying -- annuls the power to kill.
I gained it so --
By Climbing slow --
By Catching at the Twigs that grow
Between the Bliss -- and me --
It hung so high
As well the Sky
Attempt by Strategy --
I said I gained it --
This -- was all --
Look, how I clutch it
Lest it fall --
And I a Pauper go --
Unfitted by an instant's Grace
For the Contented -- Beggar's face
I wore -- an hour ago --
Death sets a Thing significant
The Eye had hurried by
Except a perished Creature
Entreat us tenderly
To ponder little Workmanships
In Crayon, or in Wool,
With "This was last Her fingers did" --
Industrious until --
The Thimble weighed too heavy --
The stitches stopped -- by themselves --
And then 'twas put among the Dust
Upon the Closet shelves --
A Book I have -- a friend gave --
Whose Pencil -- here and there --
Had notched the place that pleased Him --
At Rest -- His fingers are --
Now -- when I read -- I read not --
For interrupting Tears --
Obliterate the Etchings
Too Costly for Repairs.
What I can do -- I will --
Though it be little as a Daffodil --
That I cannot -- must be
Unknown to possibility --
It struck me -- every Day --
The Lightning was as new
As if the Cloud that instant slit
And let the Fire through --
It burned Me -- in the Night --
It Blistered to My Dream --
It sickened fresh upon my sight --
With every Morn that came --
I though that Storm -- was brief --
The Maddest -- quickest by --
But Nature lost the Date of This --
And left it in the Sky --
I went to thank Her --
But She Slept --
Her Bed -- a funneled Stone --
With Nosegays at the Head and Foot --
That Travellers -- had thrown --
Who went to thank Her --
But She Slept --
'Twas Short -- to cross the Sea --
To look upon Her like -- alive --
But turning back -- 'twas slow --
The Morning after Woe --
'Tis frequently the Way --
Surpasses all that rose before --
For utter Jubilee --
As Nature did not care --
And piled her Blossoms on --
And further to parade a Joy
Her Victim stared upon --
The Birds declaim their Tunes --
Pronouncing every word
Like Hammers -- Did they know they fell
Like Litanies of Lead --
On here and there -- a creature --
They'd modify the Glee
To fit some Crucifixal Clef --
Some Key of Calvary --
Dare you see a Soul at the White Heat?
Then crouch within the door --
Red -- is the Fire's common tint --
But when the vivid Ore
Has vanquished Flame's conditions,
It quivers from the Forge
Without a color, but the light
Of unanointed Blaze.
Least Village has its Blacksmith
Whose Anvil's even ring
Stands symbol for the finer Forge
That soundless tugs -- within --
Refining these impatient Ores
With Hammer, and with Blaze
Until the Designated Light
Repudiate the Forge --
Although I put away his life --
An Ornament too grand
For Forehead low as mine, to wear,
This might have been the Hand
That sowed the flower, he preferred --
Or smoothed a homely pain,
Or pushed the pebble from his path --
Or played his chosen tune --
On Lute the least -- the latest --
But just his Ear could know
That whatsoe'er delighted it,
I never would let go --
The foot to bear his errand --
A little Boot I know --
Would leap abroad like Antelope --
With just the grant to do --
His weariest Commandment --
A sweeter to obey,
Than "Hide and Seek" --
Or skip to Flutes --
Or all Day, chase the Bee --
Your Servant, Sir, will weary --
The Surgeon, will not come --
The World, will have its own -- to do --
The Dust, will vex your Fame --
The Cold will force your tightest door
Some February Day,
But say my apron bring the sticks
To make your Cottage gay --
That I may take that promise
To Paradise, with me --
To teach the Angels, avarice,
You, Sir, taught first -- to me.
Over and over, like a Tune --
The Recollection plays --
Drums off the Phantom Battlements
Cornets of Paradise --
Snatches, from Baptized Generations --
Cadences too grand
But for the Justified Processions
At the Lord's Right hand.
How sick -- to wait -- in any place -- but thine --
I knew last night -- when someone tried to twine --
Thinking -- perhaps -- that I looked tired -- or alone --
Or breaking -- almost -- with unspoken pain --
And I turned -- ducal --
That right -- was thine --
One port -- suffices -- for a Brig -- like mine --
Ours be the tossing -- wild though the sea --
Rather than a Mooring -- unshared by thee.
Ours be the Cargo -- unladed -- here --
Rather than the "spicy isles --"
And thou -- not there --
She lay as if at play
Her life had leaped away --
Intending to return --
But not so soon --
Her merry Arms, half dropt --
As if for lull of sport --
An instant had forgot --
The Trick to start --
Her dancing Eyes -- ajar --
As if their Owner were
Still sparkling through
For fun -- at you --
Her Morning at the door --
Devising, I am sure --
To force her sleep --
So light -- so deep --
Heaven is so far of the Mind
That were the Mind dissolved --
The Site -- of it -- by Architect
Could not again be proved --
'Tis vast -- as our Capacity --
As fair -- as our idea --
To Him of adequate desire
No further 'tis, than Here --
A precious -- mouldering pleasure -- 'tis --
To meet an Antique Book --
In just the Dress his Century wore --
A privilege -- I think --
His venerable Hand to take --
And warming in our own --
A passage back -- or two -- to make --
To Times when he -- was young --
His quaint opinions -- to inspect --
His thought to ascertain
On Themes concern our mutual mind --
The Literature of Man --
What interested Scholars -- most --
What Competitions ran --
When Plato -- was a Certainty --
And Sophocles -- a Man --
When Sappho -- was a living Girl --
And Beatrice wore
The Gown that Dante -- deified --
Facts Centuries before
He traverses -- familiar --
As One should come to Town --
And tell you all your Dreams -- were true --
He lived -- where Dreams were born --
His presence is Enchantment --
You beg him not to go --
Old Volume shake their Vellum Heads
And tantalize -- just so --
I know lives, I could miss
Without a Misery --
Others -- whose instant's wanting --
Would be Eternity --
The last -- a scanty Number --
'Twould scarcely fill a Two --
The first -- a Gnat's Horizon
Could easily outgrow --
I'm saying every day
"If I should be a Queen, tomorrow" --
I'd do this way --
And so I deck, a little,
If it be, I wake a Bourbon,
None on me, bend supercilious --
With "This was she --
Begged in the Market place --
Court is a stately place --
I've heard men say --
So I loop my apron, against the Majesty
With bright Pins of Buttercup --
That not too plain --
Rank -- overtake me --
And perch my Tongue
On Twigs of singing -- rather high --
But this, might be my brief Term
To qualify --
Put from my simple speech all plain word --
Take other accents, as such I heard
Though but for the Cricket -- just,
And but for the Bee --
Not in all the Meadow --
One accost me --
Better to be ready --
Than did next morn
Meet me in Aragon --
My old Gown -- on --
And the surprised Air
Rustics -- wear --
Summoned -- unexpectedly --
To Exeter --
I went to Heaven --
'Twas a small Town --
Lit -- with a Ruby --
Lathed -- with Down --
Stiller -- than the fields
At the full Dew --
Beautiful -- as Pictures --
No Man drew.
People -- like the Moth --
Of Mechlin -- frames --
Duties -- of Gossamer --
And Eider -- names --
Almost -- contented --
I -- could be --
'Mong such unique
The Angle of a Landscape --
That every time I wake --
Between my Curtain and the Wall
Upon an ample Crack --
Like a Venetian -- waiting --
Accosts my open eye --
Is just a Bough of Apples --
Held slanting, in the Sky --
The Pattern of a Chimney --
The Forehead of a Hill --
Sometimes -- a Vane's Forefinger --
But that's -- Occasional --
The Seasons -- shift -- my Picture --
Upon my Emerald Bough,
I wake -- to find no -- Emeralds --
Then -- Diamonds -- which the Snow
From Polar Caskets -- fetched me --
The Chimney -- and the Hill --
And just the Steeple's finger --
These -- never stir at all --
Of Course -- I prayed --
And did God Care?
He cared as much as on the Air
A Bird -- had stamped her foot --
And cried "Give Me" --
My Reason -- Life --
I had not had -- but for Yourself --
'Twere better Charity
To leave me in the Atom's Tomb --
Merry, and Nought, and gay, and numb --
Than this smart Misery.
To lose one's faith -- surpass
The loss of an Estate --
Because Estates can be
Replenished -- faith cannot --
Inherited with Life --
Belief -- but once -- can be --
Annihilate a single clause --
And Being's -- Beggary --
I saw no Way -- The Heavens were stitched --
I felt the Columns close --
The Earth reversed her Hemispheres --
I touched the Universe --
And back it slid -- and I alone --
A Speck upon a Ball --
Went out upon Circumference --
Beyond the Dip of Bell --
Rehearsal to Ourselves
Of a Withdrawn Delight --
Affords a Bliss like Murder --
Omnipotent -- Acute --
We will not drop the Dirk --
Because We love the Wound
The Dirk Commemorate -- Itself
Remind Us that we died.
There is a flower that Bees prefer --
And Butterflies -- desire --
To gain the Purple Democrat
The Humming Bird -- aspire --
And Whatsoever Insect pass --
A Honey bear away
Proportioned to his several dearth
And her -- capacity --
Her face be rounder than the Moon
And ruddier than the Gown
Or Orchis in the Pasture --
Or Rhododendron -- worn --
She doth not wait for June --
Before the World be Green --
Her sturdy little Countenance
Against the Wind -- be seen --
Contending with the Grass --
Near Kinsman to Herself --
For Privilege of Sod and Sun --
Sweet Litigants for Life --
And when the Hills be full --
And newer fashions blow --
Doth not retract a single spice
For pang of jealousy --
Her Public -- be the Noon --
Her Providence -- the Sun --
Her Progress -- by the Bee -- proclaimed --
In sovereign -- Swerveless Tune --
The Bravest -- of the Host --
Surrendering -- the last --
Nor even of Defeat -- aware --
What cancelled by the Frost --
A Secret told --
Ceases to be a Secret -- then --
A Secret -- kept --
That -- can appal but One --
Better of it -- continual be afraid --
Than it --
And Whom you told it to -- beside --
For Death -- or rather
For the Things 'twould buy --
This -- put away
Life's Opportunity --
The Things that Death will buy
Are Room --
Escape from Circumstances --
And a Name --
With Gifts of Life
How Death's Gifts may compare --
We know not --
For the Rates -- lie Here --
Exhilaration -- is within --
There can no Outer Wine
So royally intoxicate
As that diviner Brand
The Soul achieves -- Herself --
To drink -- or set away
For Visitor -- Or Sacrament --
'Tis not of Holiday
To stimulate a Man
Who hath the Ample Rhine
Within his Closet -- Best you can
Exhale in offering.
No Rack can torture me --
My Soul -- at Liberty --
Behind this mortal Bone
There knits a bolder One --
You cannot prick with saw --
Nor pierce with Scimitar --
Two Bodies -- therefore be --
Bind One -- The Other fly --
The Eagle of his Nest
No easier divest --
And gain the Sky
Than mayest Thou --
Except Thyself may be
Thine Enemy --
Captivity is Consciousness --
Smiling back from Coronation
May be Luxury --
On the Heads that started with us --
Being's Peasantry --
Recognizing in Procession
Ones We former knew --
When Ourselves were also dusty --
Centuries ago --
Had the Triumph no Conviction
Of how many be --
Stimulated -- by the Contrast --
Unto Misery --
Answer July --
Where is the Bee --
Where is the Blush --
Where is the Hay?
Ah, said July --
Where is the Seed --
Where is the Bud --
Where is the May --
Answer Thee -- Me --
Nay -- said the May --
Show me the Snow --
Show me the Bells --
Show me the Jay!
Quibbled the Jay --
Where be the Maize --
Where be the Haze --
Where be the Bur?
Here -- said the Year --
The sweetest Heresy received
That Man and Woman know --
Each Other's Convert --
Though the Faith accommodate but Two --
The Churches are so frequent --
The Ritual -- so small --
The Grace so unavoidable --
To fail -- is Infidel --
Take your Heaven further on --
This -- to Heaven divine Has gone --
Had You earlier blundered in
Possibly, e'en You had seen
An Eternity -- put on --
Now -- to ring a Door beyond
Is the utmost of Your Hand --
To the Skies -- apologize --
Nearer to Your Courtesies
Than this Sufferer polite --
Dressed to meet You --
See -- in White!
There's been a Death, in the Opposite House,
As lately as Today --
I know it, by the numb look
Such Houses have -- alway --
The Neighbors rustle in and out --
The Doctor -- drives away --
A Window opens like a Pod --
Abrupt -- mechanically --
Somebody flings a Mattress out --
The Children hurry by --
They wonder if it died -- on that --
I used to -- when a Boy --
The Minister -- goes stiffly in --
As if the House were His --
And He owned all the Mourners -- now --
And little Boys -- besides --
And then the Milliner -- and the Man
Of the Appalling Trade --
To take the measure of the House --
There'll be that Dark Parade --
Of Tassels -- and of Coaches -- soon --
It's easy as a Sign --
The Intuition of the News --
In just a Country Town --
It's coming -- the postponeless Creature --
It gains the Block -- and now -- it gains the Door --
Chooses its latch, from all the other fastenings --
Enters -- with a "You know Me -- Sir"?
Simple Salute -- and certain Recognition --
Bold -- were it Enemy -- Brief -- were it friend --
Dresses each House in Crape, and Icicle --
And carries one -- out of it -- to God --
A Visitor in Marl --
Who influences Flowers --
Till they are orderly as Busts --
And Elegant -- as Glass --
Who visits in the Night --
And just before the Sun --
Concludes his glistening interview --
Caresses -- and is gone --
But whom his fingers touched --
And where his feet have run --
And whatsoever Mouth be kissed --
Is as it had not been --
Through the Dark Sod -- as Education --
The Lily passes sure --
Feels her white foot -- no trepidation --
Her faith -- no fear --
Afterward -- in the Meadow --
Swinging her Beryl Bell --
The Mold-life -- all forgotten -- now --
In Ecstasy -- and Dell --
Did Our Best Moment last --
'Twould supersede the Heaven --
A few -- and they by Risk -- procure --
So this Sort -- are not given --
Except as stimulants -- in
Cases of Despair --
Or Stupor -- The Reserve --
These Heavenly Moments are --
A Grant of the Divine --
That Certain as it Comes --
Withdraws -- and leaves the dazzled Soul
In her unfurnished Rooms
'Twas Love -- not me --
Oh punish -- pray --
The Real one died for Thee --
Just Him -- not me --
Such Guilt -- to love Thee -- most!
Doom it beyond the Rest --
Forgive it -- last --
'Twas base as Jesus -- most!
Let Justice not mistake --
We Two -- looked so alike --
Which was the Guilty Sake --
'Twas Love's -- Now Strike!
Reverse cannot befall
That fine Prosperity
Whose Sources are interior --
As soon -- Adversity
A Diamond -- overtake
In far -- Bolivian Ground --
Misfortune hath no implement
Could mar it -- if it found --
There is a Languor of the Life
More imminent than Pain --
'Tis Pain's Successor -- When the Soul
Has suffered all it can --
A Drowsiness -- diffuses --
A Dimness like a Fog
Envelops Consciousness --
As Mists -- obliterate a Crag.
The Surgeon -- does not blanch -- at pain
His Habit -- is severe --
But tell him that it ceased to feel --
The Creature lying there --
And he will tell you -- skill is late --
A Mightier than He --
Has ministered before Him --
There's no Vitality.
When Diamonds are a Legend,
And Diadems -- a Tale --
I Brooch and Earrings for Myself,
Do sow, and Raise for sale --
And tho' I'm scarce accounted,
My Art, a Summer Day -- had Patrons --
Once -- it was a Queen --
And once -- a Butterfly --
I had not minded -- Walls --
Were Universe -- one Rock --
And fr I heard his silver Call
The other side the Block --
I'd tunnel -- till my Groove
Pushed sudden thro' to his --
Then my face take her Recompense --
The looking in his Eyes --
But 'tis a single Hair --
A filament -- a law --
A Cobweb -- wove in Adamant --
A Battlement -- of Straw --
A limit like the Veil
Unto the Lady's face --
But every Mesh -- a Citadel --
And Dragons -- in the Crease --
A House upon the Height --
That Wagon never reached --
No Dead, were ever carried down --
No Peddler's Cart -- approached --
Whose Chimney never smoked --
Whose Windows -- Night and Morn --
Caught Sunrise first -- and Sunset -- last --
Then -- held an Empty Pane --
Whose fate -- Conjecture knew --
No other neighbor -- did --
And what it was -- we never lisped --
Because He -- never told --
A Tongue -- to tell Him I am true!
Its fee -- to be of Gold --
Had Nature -- in Her monstrous House
A single Ragged Child --
To earn a Mine -- would run
That Interdicted Way,
And tell Him -- Charge thee speak it plain --
That so far -- Truth is True?
And answer What I do --
Beginning with the Day
That Night -- begun --
Nay -- Midnight -- 'twas --
Since Midnight -- happened -- say --
If once more -- Pardon -- Boy --
The Magnitude thou may
Enlarge my Message -- If too vast
Another Lad -- help thee --
Thy Pay -- in Diamonds -- be --
And His -- in solid Gold --
Say Rubies -- if He hesitate --
My Message -- must be told --
Say -- last I said -- was This --
That when the Hills -- come down --
And hold no higher than the Plain --
My Bond -- have just begun --
And when the Heavens -- disband --
And Deity conclude --
Then -- look for me. Be sure you say --
Least Figure -- on the Road --
What Soft -- Cherubic Creatures --
These Gentlewomen are --
One would as soon assault a Plush --
Or violate a Star --
Such Dimity Convictions --
A Horror so refined
Of freckled Human Nature --
Of Deity -- ashamed --
It's such a common -- Glory --
A Fisherman's -- Degree --
Redemption -- Brittle Lady --
Be so -- ashamed of Thee --
I pay -- in Satin Cash --
You did not state -- your price --
A Petal, for a Paragraph
It near as I can guess --
The Winters are so short --
I'm hardly justified
In sending all the Birds away --
And moving into Pod --
Myself -- for scarcely settled --
The Phoebes have begun --
And then -- it's time to strike my Tent --
And open House -- again --
It's mostly, interruptions --
My Summer -- is despoiled --
Because there was a Winter -- once --
And al the Cattle -- starved --
And so there was a Deluge --
And swept the World away --
But Ararat's a Legend -- now --
And no one credits Noah --
How many Flowers fail in Wood --
Or perish from the Hill --
Without the privilege to know
That they are Beautiful --
How many cast a nameless Pod
Upon the nearest Breeze --
Unconscious of the Scarlet Freight --
It bear to Other Eyes --
It might be lonelier
Without the Loneliness --
I'm so accustomed to my Fate --
Perhaps the Other -- Peace --
Would interrupt the Dark --
And crowd the little Room --
Too scant -- by Cubits -- to contain
The Sacrament -- of Him --
I am not used to Hope --
It might intrude upon --
Its sweet parade -- blaspheme the place --
Ordained to Suffering --
It might be easier
To fail -- with Land in Sight --
Than gain -- My Blue Peninsula --
To perish -- of Delight --
Some -- Work for Immortality --
The Chiefer part, for Time --
He -- Compensates -- immediately --
The former -- Checks -- on Fame --
Slow Gold -- but Everlasting --
The Bullion of Today --
Contrasted with the Currency
Of Immortality --
A Beggar -- Here and There --
Is gifted to discern
Beyond the Broker's insight --
One's -- Money -- One's -- the Mine -
If What we could -- were what we would --
Criterion -- be small --
It is the Ultimate of Talk --
The Impotence to Tell --
Unit, like Death, for Whom?
True, like the Tomb,
Who tells no secret
Told to Him --
The Grave is strict --
Just two -- the Bearer --
And the Borne --
And seat -- just One --
The Living -- tell --
The Dying -- but a Syllable --
The Coy Dead -- None --
No Chatter -- here -- no tea --
So Babbler, and Bohea -- stay there --
But Gravity -- and Expectation -- and Fear --
A tremor just, that All's not sure.
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 can summon every face
Of his Repealless -- List.
The first Day's Night had come --
And grateful that a thing
So terrible -- had been endured --
I told my Soul to sing --
She said her Strings were snapt --
Her Bow -- to Atoms blown --
And so to mend her -- gave me work
Until another Morn --
And then -- a Day as huge
As Yesterdays in pairs,
Unrolled its horror in my face --
Until it blocked my eyes --
My Brain -- begun to laugh --
I mumbled -- like a fool --
And tho' 'tis Years ago -- that Day --
My Brain keeps giggling -- still.
And Something's odd -- within --
That person that I was --
And this One -- do not feel the same --
Could it be Madness -- this?
The Color of the Grave is Green --
The Outer Grave -- I mean --
You would not know it from the Field --
Except it own a Stone --
To help the fond -- to find it --
Too infinite asleep
To stop and tell them where it is --
But just a Daisy -- deep --
The Color of the Grave is white --
The outer Grave -- I mean --
You would not know it from the Drifts --
In Winter -- till the Sun --
Has furrowed out the Aisles --
Then -- higher than the Land
The little Dwelling Houses rise
Where each -- has left a friend --
The Color of the Grave within --
The Duplicate -- I mean --
Not all the Snows could make it white --
Not all the Summers -- Green --
You've seen the Color -- maybe --
Upon a Bonnet bound --
When that you met it with before --
The Ferret -- cannot find --
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 --
I made my soul familiar -- with her extremity --
That at the last, it should not be a novel Agony --
But she, and Death, acquainted --
Meet tranquilly, as friends --
Salute, and pass, without a Hint --
And there, the Matter ends --
I never felt at Home -- Below ---
And in the Handsome Skies
I shall not feel at Home -- I know --
I don't like Paradise --
Because it's Sunday -- all the time --
And Recess -- never comes --
And Eden'll be so lonesome
Bright Wednesday Afternoons --
If God could make a visit --
Or ever took a Nap --
So not to see us -- but they say
Himself -- a Telescope
Perennial beholds us --
Myself would run away
From Him -- and Holy Ghost -- and All --
But there's the "Judgement Day"!
'Twas like a Maelstrom, with a notch,
That nearer, every Day,
Kept narrowing its boiling Wheel
Until the Agony
Toyed coolly with the final inch
Of your delirious Hem --
And you dropt, lost,
When something broke --
And let you from a Dream --
As if a Goblin with a Gauge --
Kept measuring the Hours --
Until you felt your Second
Weigh, helpless, in his Paws --
And not a Sinew -- stirred -- could help,
And sense was setting numb --
When God -- remembered -- and the Fiend
Let go, then, Overcome --
As if your Sentence stood -- pronounced --
And you were frozen led
From Dungeon's luxury of Doubt
To Gibbets, and the Dead --
And when the Film had stitched your eyes
A Creature gasped "Reprieve"!
Which Anguish was the utterest -- then --
To perish, or to live?
Sunset at Night -- is natural --
But Sunset on the Dawn
Reverses Nature -- Master --
So Midnight's -- due -- at Noon.
Eclipses be -- predicted --
And Science bows them in --
But do one face us suddenly --
Jehovah's Watch -- is wrong.
A Murmur in the Trees -- to note --
Not loud enough -- for Wind --
A Star -- not far enough to seek --
Nor near enough -- to find --
A long -- long Yellow -- on the Lawn --
A Hubbub -- as of feet --
Not audible -- as Ours -- to Us --
But dapperer -- More Sweet --
A Hurrying Home of little Men
To Houses unperceived --
All this -- and more -- if I should tell --
Would never be believed --
Of Robins in the Trundle bed
How many I espy
Whose Nightgowns could not hide the Wings --
Although I heard them try --
But then I promised ne'er to tell --
How could I break My Word?
So go your Way -- and I'll go Mine --
No fear you'll miss the Road.
Is it dead -- Find it --
Out of sound -- Out of sight --
"Happy"? Which is wiser --
You, or the Wind?
"Conscious"? Won't you ask that --
Of the low Ground?
"Homesick"? Many met it --
Even through them -- This
Cannot testify --
Themself -- as dumb --
Not in this World to see his face --
Sounds long -- until I read the place
Where this -- is said to be
But just the Primer -- to a life --
Unopened -- rare -- Upon the Shelf --
Clasped yet -- to Him -- and Me --
And yet -- My Primer suits me so
I would not choose -- a Book to know
Than that -- be sweeter wise --
Might some one else -- so learned -- be --
And leave me -- just my A -- B -- C --
Himself -- could have the Skies --
We grow accustomed to the Dark --
When light is put away --
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye --
A Moment -- We uncertain step
For newness of the night --
Then -- fit our Vision to the Dark --
And meet the Road -- erect --
And so of larger -- Darkness --
Those Evenings of the Brain --
When not a Moon disclose a sign --
Or Star -- come out -- within --
The Bravest -- grope a little --
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead --
But as they learn to see --
Either the Darkness alters --
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight --
And Life steps almost straight.
You'll know it -- as you know 'tis Noon --
By Glory --
As you do the Sun --
By Glory --
As you will in Heaven --
Know God the Father -- and the Son.
By intuition, Mightiest Things
Assert themselves -- and not by terms --
"I'm Midnight" -- need the Midnight say --
"I'm Sunrise" -- Need the Majesty?
Omnipotence -- had not a Tongue --
His listp -- is Lightning -- and the Sun --
His Conversation -- with the Sea --
"How shall you know"?
Consult your Eye!
A Charm invests a face
Imperfectly beheld --
The Lady date not lift her Veil
For fear it be dispelled --
But peers beyond her mesh --
And wishes -- and denies --
Lest Interview -- annul a want
That Image -- satisfies --
More Life -- went out -- when He went
Than Ordinary Breath --
Lit with a finer Phosphor --
Requiring in the Quench --
A Power of Renowned Cold,
The Climate of the Grave
A Temperature just adequate
So Anthracite, to live --
For some -- an Ampler Zero --
A Frost more needle keen
Is necessary, to reduce
The Ethiop within.
Others -- extinguish easier --
A Gnat's minutest Fan
Sufficient to obliterate
A Tract of Citizen --
Whose Peat lift -- amply vivid --
Ignores the solemn News
That Popocatapel exists --
Or Etna's Scarlets, Choose --
The Months have ends -- the Years -- a knot --
No Power can untie
To stretch a little further
A Skein of Misery --
The Earth lays back these tired lives
In her mysterious Drawers --
Too tenderly, that any doubt
An ultimate Repose --
The manner of the Children --
Who weary of the Day --
Themself -- the noisy Plaything
They cannot put away --
Removed from Accident of Loss
By Accident of Gain
Befalling not my simple Days --
Myself had just to earn --
Of Riches -- as unconscious
As is the Brown Malay
Of Pearls in Eastern Waters,
Marked His -- What Holiday
Would stir his slow conception --
Had he the power to dream
That put the Dower's fraction --
Awaited even -- Him --
Good Morning -- Midnight --
I'm coming Home --
Day -- got tired of Me --
How could I -- of Him?
Sunshine was a sweet place --
I liked to stay --
But Morn -- didn't want me -- now --
So -- Goodnight -- Day!
I can look -- can't I --
When the East is Red?
The Hills -- have a way -- then --
That puts the Heart -- abroad --
You -- are not so fair -- Midnight --
I chose -- Day --
But -- please take a little Girl --
He turned away!
It don't sound so terrible -- quite -- as it did --
I run it over -- "Dead", Brain, "Dead."
Put it in Latin -- left of my school --
Seems it don't shriek so -- under rule.
Turn it, a little -- full in the face
A Trouble looks bitterest --
Shift it -- just --
Say "When Tomorrow comes this way --
I shall have waded down one Day."
I suppose it will interrupt me some
Till I get accustomed -- but then the Tomb
Like other new Things -- shows largest -- then --
And smaller, by Habit --
It's shrewder then
Put the Thought in advance -- a Year --
How like "a fit" -- then --
Murder -- wear!
I'll clutch -- and clutch --
Next -- One -- Might be the golden touch --
Could take it --
Diamonds -- Wait --
I'm diving -- just a little late --
But stars -- go slow -- for night --
I'll string you -- in fine Necklace --
Tiaras -- make -- of some --
Wear you on Hem --
Loop up a Countess -- with you --
Make -- a Diadem -- and mend my old One --
Count -- Hoard -- then lose --
And doubt that you are mine --
To have the joy of feeling it -- again --
I'll show you at the Court --
Bear you -- for Ornament
Where Women breathe --
That every sigh -- may lift you
Just as high -- as I --
And -- when I die --
In meek array -- display you --
Still to show -- how rich I go --
Lest Skies impeach a wealth so wonderful --
And banish me --
Taking up the fair Ideal,
Just to cast her down
When a fracture -- we discover --
Or a splintered Crown --
Makes the Heavens portable --
And the Gods -- a lie --
Doubtless -- "Adam" -- scowled at Eden --
For his perjury!
Cherishing -- our pool Ideal --
Till in purer dress --
We behold her -- glorified --
Comforts -- search -- like this --
Till the broken creatures --
We adored -- for whole --
Stains -- all washed --
Transfigured -- mended --
Meet us -- with a smile --
The Moon is distant from the Sea --
And yet, with Amber Hands --
She leads Him -- docile as a Boy --
Along appointed Sands --
He never misses a Degree --
Obedient to Her Eye
He comes just so far -- toward the Town --
Just so far -- goes away --
Oh, Signor, Thine, the Amber Hand --
And mine -- the distant Sea --
Obedient to the least command
Thine eye impose on me --
It would never be Common -- more -- I said --
Difference -- had begun --
Many a bitterness -- had been --
But that old sort -- was done --
Or -- if it sometime -- showed -- as 'twill --
Upon the Downiest -- Morn --
Such bliss -- had I -- for all the years --
'Twould give an Easier -- pain --
I'd so much joy -- I told it -- Red --
Upon my simple Cheek --
I felt it publish -- in my Eye --
'Twas needless -- any speak --
I walked -- as wings -- my body bore --
The feet -- I former used --
Unnecessary -- now to me --
As boots -- would be -- to Birds --
I put my pleasure all abroad --
I dealth a word of Gold
To every Creature -- that I met --
And Dowered -- all the World --
When -- suddenly -- my Riches shrank --
A Goblin -- drank my Dew --
My Palaces -- dropped tenantless --
Myself -- was beggared -- too --
I clutched at sounds --
I groped at shapes --
I touched the tops of Films --
I felt the Wilderness roll back
Along my Golden lines --
The Sackcloth -- hangs upon the nail --
The Frock I used to wear --
But where my moment of Brocade --
My -- drop -- of India?
Me -- come! My dazzled face
In such a shining place!
Me -- hear! My foreign Ear
The sounds of Welcome -- there!
The Saints forget
Our bashful feet --
My Holiday, shall be
That They -- remember me --
My Paradise -- the fame
That They -- pronounce my name --
Do People moulder equally,
They bury, in the Grave?
I do believe a Species
As positively live
As I, who testify it
Deny that I -- am dead --
And fill my Lungs, for Witness --
From Tanks -- above my Head --
I say to you, said Jesus --
That there be standing here --
A Sort, that shall not taste of Death --
If Jesus was sincere --
I need no further Argue --
That statement of the Lord
Is not a controvertible --
He told me, Death was dead --
Knows how to forget!
But could It teach it?
Easiest of Arts, they say
When one learn how
Dull Hearts have died
In the Acquisition
Sacrificed for Science
Is common, though, now --
I went to School
But was not wiser
Globe did not teach it
Nor Logarithm Show
"How to forget"!
Say -- some -- Philosopher!
Ah, to be erudite
Enough to know!
Is it in a Book?
So, I could buy it --
Is it like a Planet?
Telescopes would know --
If it be invention
It must have a Patent.
Rabbi of the Wise Book
Don't you know?
To love thee Year by Year --
May less appear
Than sacrifice, and cease --
Forever might be short, I thought to show --
And so I pieced it, with a flower, now.
Much Madness is divinest Sense --
To a discerning Eye --
Much Sense -- the starkest Madness --
'Tis the Majority
In this, as All, prevail --
Assent -- and you are sane --
Demur -- you're straightway dangerous --
And handled with a Chain --
The Wind -- tapped like a tired Man --
And like a Host -- "Come in"
I boldly answered -- entered then
My Residence within
A Rapid -- footless Guest --
To offer whom a Chair
Were as impossible as hand
A Sofa to the Air --
No Bone had He to bind Him --
His Speech was like the Push
Of numerous Humming Birds at once
From a superior Bush --
His Countenance -- a Billow --
His Fingers, as He passed
Let go a music -- as of tunes
Blown tremulous in Glass --
He visited -- still flitting --
Then like a timid Man
Again, He tapped -- 'twas flurriedly --
And I became alone --
Prayer is the little implement
Through which Men reach
Where Presence -- is denied them.
They fling their Speech
By means of it -- in God's Ear --
If then He hear --
This sums the Apparatus
Comprised in Prayer --
Forget! The lady with the Amulet
Forget she wore it at her Heart
Because she breathed against
Was Treason twixt?
Deny! Did Rose her Bee --
For Privilege of Play
Or Wile of Butterfly
Or Opportunity -- Her Lord away?
The lady with the Amulet -- will face --
The Bee -- in Mausoleum laid --
Discard his Bride --
But longer than the little Rill --
That cooled the Forehead of the Hill --
While Other -- went the Sea to fill --
And Other -- went to turn the Mill --
I'll do thy Will --
Undue Significance a starving man attaches
To Food --
Far off -- He sighs -- and therefore -- Hopeless --
And therefore -- Good --
Partaken -- it relieves -- indeed --
But proves us
That Spices fly
In the Receipt -- It was the Distance --
Was Savory --
'Tis customary as we part
A trinket -- to confer --
It helps to stimulate the faith
When Lovers be afar --
'Tis various -- as the various taste --
Clematis -- journeying far --
Presents me with a single Curl
Of her Electric Hair --
This is my letter to the World
That never wrote to Me --
The simple News that Nature told --
With tender Majesty
Her Message is committed
To Hands I cannot see --
For love of Her -- Sweet -- countrymen --
Judge tenderly -- of Me
God made a little Gentian --
It tried -- to be a Rose --
And failed -- and all the Summer laughed --
But just before the Snows
There rose a Purple Creature --
That ravished all the Hill --
And Summer hid her Forehead --
And Mockery -- was still --
The Frosts were her condition --
The Tyrian would not come
Until the North -- invoke it --
Creator -- Shall I -- bloom?
I tie my Hat -- I crease my Shawl --
Life's little duties do -- precisely --
As the very least
Were infinite -- to me --
I put new Blossoms in the Glass --
And throw the old -- away --
I push a petal from my gown
That anchored there -- I weigh
The time 'twill be till six o'clock
I have so much to do --
And yet -- Existence -- some way back --
Stopped -- struck -- my tickling -- through --
We cannot put Ourself away
As a completed Man
Or Woman -- When the Errand's done
We came to Flesh -- upon --
There may be -- Miles on Miles of Nought --
Of Action -- sicker far --
To simulate -- is stinging work --
To cover what we are
From Science -- and from Surgery --
Too Telescopic Eyes
To bear on us unshaded --
For their -- sake -- not for Ours --
'Twould start them --
We -- could tremble --
But since we got a Bomb --
And held it in our Bosom --
Nay -- Hold it -- it is calm --
Therefore -- we do life's labor --
Though life's Reward -- be done --
With scrupulous exactness --
To hold our Senses -- on --
It feels a shame to be Alive --
When Men so brave -- are dead --
One envies the Distinguished Dust --
Permitted -- such a Head --
The Stone -- that tells defending Whom
This Spartan put away
What little of Him we -- possessed
In Pawn for Liberty --
The price is great -- Sublimely paid --
Do we deserve -- a Thing --
That lives -- like Dollars -- must be piled
Before we may obtain?
Are we that wait -- sufficient worth --
That such Enormous Pearl
As life -- dissolved be -- for Us --
In Battle's -- horrid Bowl?
It may be -- a Renown to live --
I think the Man who die --
Those unsustained -- Saviors --
Present Divinity --
'Twas just this time, last year, I died.
I know I heard the Corn,
When I was carried by the Farms --
It had the Tassels on --
I thought how yellow it would look --
When Richard went to mill --
And then, I wanted to get out,
But something held my will.
I thought just how Red -- Apples wedged
The Stubble's joints between --
And the Carts stooping round the fields
To take the Pumpkins in --
I wondered which would miss me, least,
And when Thanksgiving, came,
If Father'd multiply the plates --
To make an even Sum --
And would it blur the Christmas glee
My Stocking hang too high
For any Santa Claus to reach
The Altitude of me --
But this sort, grieved myself,
And so, I thought the other way,
How just this time, some perfect year --
Themself, should come to me --
I showed her Heights she never saw --
"Would'st Climb," I said?
She said -- "Not so" --
"With me --" I said -- With me?
I showed her Secrets -- Morning's Nest --
The Rope the Nights were put across --
And now -- "Would'st have me for a Guest?"
She could not find her Yes --
And then, I brake my life -- And Lo,
A Light, for her, did solemn glow,
The larger, as her face withdrew --
And could she, further, "No"?
Could -- I do more -- for Thee --
Wert Thou a Bumble Bee --
Since for the Queen, have I --
Nought but Bouquet?
This was a Poet -- It is That
Distills amazing sense
From ordinary Meanings --
And Attar so immense
From the familiar species
That perished by the Door --
We wonder it was not Ourselves
Arrested it -- before --
Of Pictures, the Discloser --
The Poet -- it is He --
Entitles Us -- by Contrast --
To ceaseless Poverty --
Of portion -- so unconscious --
The Robbing -- could not harm --
Himself -- to Him -- a Fortune --
Exterior -- to Time --
I died for Beauty -- but was scarce
Adjusted in the Tomb
When One who died for Truth, was lain
In an adjoining room --
He questioned softly "Why I failed"?
"For Beauty", I replied --
"And I -- for Truth -- Themself are One --
We Brethren, are", He said --
And so, as Kinsmen, met a Night --
We talked between the Rooms --
Until the Moss had reached our lips --
And covered up -- our names --
Dreams -- are well -- but Waking's better,
If One wake at morn --
If One wake at Midnight -- better --
Dreaming -- of the Dawn --
Sweeter -- the Surmising Robins --
Never gladdened Tree --
Than a Solid Dawn -- confronting --
Leading to no Day --
The Outer -- from the Inner
Derives its Magnitude --
'Tis Duke, or Dwarf, according
As is the Central Mood --
The fine -- unvarying Axis
That regulates the Wheel --
Though Spokes -- spin -- more conspicuous
And fling a dust -- the while.
The Inner -- paints the Outer --
The Brush without the Hand --
Its Picture publishes -- precise --
As is the inner Brand --
On fine -- Arterial Canvas --
A Cheek -- perchance a Brow --
The Star's whole Secret -- in the Lake --
Eyes were not meant to know.
The Malay -- took the Pearl --
Not -- I -- the Earl --
I -- feared the Sea -- too much
Unsanctified -- to touch --
Praying that I might be
Worthy -- the Destiny --
The Swarthy fellow swam --
And bore my Jewel -- Home --
Home to the Hut! What lot
Had I -- the Jewel -- got --
Borne on a Dusky Breasty --
I had not deemed a Vest
Of Amber -- fit --
The Negro never knew
I -- wooed it -- too --
To gain, or be undone --
Alike to Him -- One --
Love -- thou art high --
I cannot climb thee --
But, were it Two --
Who know but we --
Taking turns -- at the Chimborazo --
Ducal -- at last -- stand up by thee --
Love -- thou are deep --
I cannot cross thee --
But, were there Two
Instead of One --
Rower, and Yacht -- some sovereign Summer --
Who knows -- but we'd reach the Sun?
Love -- thou are Veiled --
A few -- behold thee --
Smile -- and alter -- and prattle -- and die --
Bliss -- were an Oddity -- without thee --
Nicknamed by God --
It was given to me by the Gods --
When I was a little Girl --
They given us Presents most -- you know --
When we are new -- and small.
I kept it in my Hand --
I never put it down --
I did not dare to eat -- or sleep --
For fear it would be gone --
I heard such words as "Rich" --
When hurrying to school --
From lips at Corners of the Streets --
And wrestled with a smile.
Rich! 'Twas Myself -- was rich --
To take the name of Gold --
And Gold to own -- in solid Bars --
The Difference -- made me bold --
Triumph -- may be of several kinds --
There's Triumph in the Room
When that Old Imperator -- Death --
So well that I can live without --
I love thee -- then How well is that?
As well as Jesus?
Prove it me
That He -- loved Men --
As I -- love thee --
Sweet -- safe -- Houses --
Glad -- gay -- Houses --
Sealed so stately tight --
Lids of Steel -- on Lids of Marble --
Locking Bare feet out --
Brooks of Plush -- in Banks of Satin
Not so softly fall
As the laughter -- and the whisper --
From their People Pearl --
No Bald Death -- affront their Parlors --
No Bold Sickness come
To deface their Stately Treasures --
Anguish -- and the Tomb --
Hum by -- in Muffled Coaches --
Lest they -- wonder Why --
Any -- for the Press of Smiling --
Interrupt -- to die --
Like eyes that looked on Wastes --
Incredulous of Ought
But Blank -- and steady Wilderness --
Diversified by Night --
Just Infinites of Nought --
As far as it could see --
So looked the face I looked upon --
So looked itself -- on Me --
I offered it no Help --
Because the Cause was Mine --
The Misery a Compact
As hopeless -- as divine --
Neither -- would be absolved --
Neither would be a Queen
Without the Other -- Therefore --
We perish -- tho' We reign --
A Tooth upon Our Peace
The Peace cannot deface --
Then Wherefore be the Tooth?
To vitalize the Grace --
The Heaven hath a Hell --
Itself to signalize --
And every sign before the Place
Is Gilt with Sacrifice --
I know where Wells grow -- Droughtless Wells --
Deep dug -- for Summer days --
Where Mosses go no more away --
And Pebble -- safely plays --
It's made of Fathoms -- and a Belt --
A Belt of jagged Stone --
Inlaid with Emerald -- half way down --
And Diamonds -- jumbled on --
It has no Bucket -- Were I rich
A Bucket I would buy --
I'm often thirsty -- but my lips
Are so high up -- You see --
I read in an Old fashioned Book
That People "thirst no more" --
The Wells have Buckets to them there --
It must mean that -- I'm sure --
Shall We remember Parching -- then?
Those Waters sound so grand --
I think a little Well -- like Mine --
Dearer to understand --
A Wife -- at daybreak I shall be --
Sunrise -- Hast thou a Flag for me?
At Midnight, I am but a Maid,
How short it takes to make a Bride --
Then -- Midnight, I have passed from thee
Unto the East, and Victory --
Midnight -- Good Night! I hear them call,
The Angels bustle in the Hall --
Softly my Future climbs the Stair,
I fumble at my Childhood's prayer
So soon to be a Child no more --
Eternity, I'm coming -- Sire,
Savior -- I've seen the face -- before!
Why make it doubt -- it hurts it so --
So sick -- to guess --
So strong -- to know --
So brave -- upon its little Bed
To tell the very last They said
Unto Itself -- and smile -- And shake --
For that dear -- distant -- dangerous -- Sake --
But -- the Instead -- the Pinching fear
That Something -- it did do -- or dare --
Offend the Vision -- and it flee --
And They no more remember me --
Nor ever turn to tell me why --
Oh, Master, This is Misery --
I live with Him -- I see His face --
I go no more away
For Visitor -- or Sundown --
Death's single privacy
The Only One -- forestalling Mine --
And that -- by Right that He
Presents a Claim invisible --
No wedlock -- granted Me --
I live with Him -- I hear His Voice --
I stand alive -- Today --
To witness to the Certainty
Of Immortality --
Taught Me -- by Time -- the lower Way --
Conviction -- Every day --
That Life like This -- is stopless --
Be Judgment -- what it may --
The power to be true to You,
Until upon my face
The Judgment push his Picture --
Presumptuous of Your Place --
Of This -- Could Man deprive Me --
Himself -- the Heaven excel --
Whose invitation -- Yours reduced
Until it showed too small --
I heard a Fly buzz -- when I died --
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air --
Between the Heaves of Storm --
The Eyes around -- had wrung them dry --
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset -- when the King
Be witnessed -- in the Room --
I willed my Keepsakes -- Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable -- and then it was
There interposed a Fly --
With Blue -- uncertain stumbling Buzz --
Between the light -- and me --
And then the Windows failed -- and then
I could not see to see --
'Tis little I -- could care for Pearls --
Who own the ample sea --
Or Brooches -- when the Emperor --
With Rubies -- pelteth me --
Or Gold -- who am the Prince of Mines --
Or Diamonds -- when have I
A Diadem to fit a Dom --
Continual upon me --
We do not play on Graves --
Because there isn't Room --
Besides -- it isn't even -- it slants
And People come --
And put a Flower on it --
And hang their faces so --
We're fearing that their Hearts will drop --
And crush our pretty play --
And so we move as far
As Enemies -- away --
Just looking round to see how far
It is -- Occasionally --
The Manner of its Death
When Certain it must die --
'Tis deemed a privilege to choose --
'Twas Major Andre's Way --
When Choice of Life -- is past --
There yet remains a Love
Its little Fate to stipulate --
How small in those who live --
The Miracle to tease
With Bable of the styles --
How "they are Dying mostly -- now" --
And Customs at "St. James"!
The Red -- Blaze -- is the Morning --
The Violet -- is Noon --
The Yellow -- Day -- is falling --
And after that -- is none --
But Miles of Sparks -- at Evening --
Reveal the Width that burned --
The Territory Argent -- that
Never yet -- consumed --
I am alive -- I guess --
The Branches on my Hand
Are full of Morning Glory --
And at my finger's end --
The Carmine -- tingles warm --
And if I hold a Glass
Across my Mouth -- it blurs it --
Physician's -- proof of Breath --
I am alive -- because
I am not in a Room --
The Parlor -- Commonly -- it is --
So Visitors may come --
And lean -- and view it sidewise --
And add "How cold -- it grew" --
And "Was it conscious -- when it stepped
I am alive -- because
I do not own a House --
Entitled to myself -- precise --
And fitting no one else --
And marked my Girlhood's name --
So Visitors may know
Which Door is mine -- and not
A Night -- there lay the Days between --
The Day that was Before --
And Day that was Behind -- were one --
And now -- 'twas Night -- was here --
Slow -- Night -- that must be watched away --
As Grains upon a shore --
Too imperceptible to note --
Till it be night -- no more --
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 --
'Tis lost -- and lost to me --
I am ashamed -- I hide --
What right have I -- to be a Bride --
So late a Dowerless Girl --
Nowhere to hide my dazzled Face --
No one to teach me that new Grace --
Nor introduce -- my Soul --
Me to adorn -- How -- tell --
Trinket -- to make Me beautiful --
Fabrics of Cashmere --
Never a Gown of Dun -- more --
Raiment instead -- of Pompadour --
For Me -- My soul -- to wear --
Fingers -- to frame my Round Hair
Oval -- as Feudal Ladies wore --
Far Fashions -- Fair --
Skill to hold my Brow like an Earl --
Plead -- like a Whippoorwill --
Prove -- like a Pearl --
Then, for Character --
Fashion My Spirit quaint -- white --
Quick -- like a Liquor --
Gay -- like Light --
Bring Me my best Pride --
No more ashamed --
No more to hide --
Meek -- let it be -- too proud -- for Pride --
Baptized -- this Day -- a Bride --
They put Us far apart --
As separate as Sea
And Her unsown Peninsula --
We signified "These see" --
They took away our Eyes --
They thwarted Us with Guns --
"I see Thee" each responded straight
Through Telegraphic Signs --
With Dungeons -- They devised --
But through their thickest skill --
And their opaquest Adamant --
Our Souls saw -- just as well --
They summoned Us to die --
With sweet alacrity
We stood upon our stapled feet --
Condemned -- but just -- to see --
Permission to recant --
Permission to forget --
We turned our backs upon the Sun
For perjury of that --
Not Either -- noticed Death --
Of Paradise -- aware --
Each other's Face -- was all the Disc
Each other's setting -- saw --
Doom is the House without the Door --
'Tis entered from the Sun --
And then the Ladder's thrown away,
Because Escape -- is done --
'Tis varied by the Dream
Of what they do outside --
Where Squirrels play -- and Berries die --
And Hemlocks -- bow -- to God --
I meant to have but modest needs --
Such as Content -- and Heaven --
Within my income -- these could lie
And Life and I -- keep even --
But since the last -- included both --
It would suffice my Prayer
But just for One -- to stipulate --
And Grace would grant the Pair --
And so -- upon this wise -- I prayed --
Great Spirit -- Give to me
A Heaven not so large as Yours,
But large enough -- for me --
A Smile suffused Jehovah's face --
The Cherubim -- withdrew --
Grave Saints stole out to look at me --
And showed their dimples -- too --
I left the Place, with all my might --
I threw my Prayer away --
The Quiet Ages picked it up --
And Judgment -- twinkled -- too --
Tat one so honest -- be extant --
It take the Tale for true --
That "Whatsoever Ye shall ask --
Itself be given You" --
But I, grown shrewder -- scan the Skies
With a suspicious Air --
As Children -- swindled for the first
All Swindlers -- be -- infer --
No Man can compass a Despair --
As round a Goalless Road
No faster than a Mile at once
The Traveller proceed --
Unconscious of the Width --
Unconscious that the Sun
Be setting on His progress --
So accurate the One
At estimating Pain --
Whose own -- has just begun --
His ignorance -- the Angel
That pilot Him along --
I had no time to Hate --
The Grave would hinder Me --
And Life was not so
Could finish -- Enmity --
Nor had I time to Love --
Some Industry must be --
The little Toil of Love --
Be large enough for Me --
She dealt her pretty words like Blades --
How glittering they shone --
And every One unbared a Nerve
Or wantoned with a Bone --
She never deemed -- she hurt --
That -- is not Steel's Affair --
A vulgar grimace in the Flesh --
How ill the Creatures bear --
To Ache is human -- not polite --
The Film upon the eye
Mortality's old Custom --
Just locking up -- to Die.
"Why do I love" You, Sir?
The Wind does not require the Grass
To answer -- Wherefore when He pass
She cannot keep Her place.
Because He knows -- and
Do not You --
And We know not --
Enough for Us
The Wisdom it be so --
The Lightning -- never asked an Eye
Wherefore it shut -- when He was by --
Because He knows it cannot speak --
And reasons not contained --
-- Of Talk --
There be -- preferred by Daintier Folk --
The Sunrise -- Sire -- compelleth Me --
Because He's Sunrise -- and I see --
Therefore -- Then --
I love Thee --
The Himmaleh was known to stoop
Unto the Daisy low --
Transported with Compassion
That such a Doll should grow
Where Tent by Tent -- Her Universe
Hung out its Flags of Snow --
We Cover Thee -- Sweet Face --
Not that We tire of Thee --
But that Thyself fatigue of Us --
Remember -- as Thou go --
We follow Thee until
Thou notice Us -- no more --
And then -- reluctant -- turn away
To Con Thee o'er and o'er --
And blame the scanty love
We were Content to show --
Augmented -- Sweet -- a Hundred fold --
If Thou would'st take it -- now --
A Solemn thing within the Soul
To feel itself get ripe --
And golden hang -- while farther up --
The Maker's Ladders stop --
And in the Orchard far below --
You hear a Being -- drop --
A Wonderful -- to feel the Sun
Still toiling at the Cheek
You thought was finished --
Cool of eye, and critical of Work --
He shifts the stem -- a little --
To give your Core -- a look --
But solemnest -- to know
Your chance in Harvest moves
A little nearer -- Every Sun
The Single -- to some lives.
My Garden -- like the Beach --
Denotes there be -- a Sea --
That's Summer --
Such as These -- the Pearls
She fetches -- such as Me
To make One's Toilette -- after Death
Has made the Toilette cool
Of only Taste we cared to please
Is difficult, and still --
That's easier -- than Braid the Hair --
And make the Bodice gay --
When eyes that fondled it are wrenched
By Decalogues -- away --
I was the slightest in the House --
I took the smallest Room --
At night, my little Lamp, and Book --
And one Geranium --
So stationed I could catch the Mint
That never ceased to fall --
And just my Basket --
Let me think -- I'm sure --
That this was all --
I never spoke -- unless addressed --
And then, 'twas brief and low --
I could not bear to live -- aloud --
The Racket shamed me so --
And if it had not been so far --
And any one I knew
Were going -- I had often thought
How noteless -- I could die --
You love the Lord -- you cannot see --
You write Him -- every day --
A little note -- when you awake --
And further in the Day.
An Ample Letter -- How you miss --
And would delight to see --
But then His House -- is but a Step --
And Mine's -- in Heaven -- You see.
Myself was formed -- a Carpenter --
An unpretending time
My Plane -- and I, together wrought
Before a Builder came --
To measure our attainments --
Had we the Art of Boards
Sufficiently developed -- He'd hire us
At Halves --
My Tools took Human -- Faces --
The Bench, where we had toiled --
Against the Man -- persuaded --
We -- Temples build -- I said --
We pray -- to Heaven --
We prate -- of Heaven --
Relate -- when Neighbors die --
At what o'clock to heaven -- they fled --
Who saw them -- Wherefore fly?
Is Heaven a Place -- a Sky -- a Tree?
Location's narrow way is for Ourselves --
Unto the Dead
There's no Geography --
But State -- Endowal -- Focus --
Where -- Omnipresence -- fly?
To One denied the drink
To tell what Water is
Would be acuter, would it not
Than letting Him surmise?
To lead Him to the Well
And let Him hear it drip
Remind Him, would it not, somewhat
Of His condemned lip?
While it is alive
Until Death touches it
While it and I lap one Air
Dwell in one Blood
Under one Sacrament
Show me Division can split or pare --
Love is like Life -- merely longer
Love is like Death, during the Grave
Love is the Fellow of the Resurrection
Scooping up the Dust and chanting "Live"!
Civilization -- spurns -- the Leopard!
Was the Leopard -- bold?
Deserts -- never rebuked her Satin --
Ethiop -- her Gold --
Tawny -- her Customs --
She was Conscious --
Spotted -- her Dun Gown --
This was the Leopard's nature -- Signor --
Need -- a keeper -- frown?
Pity -- the Pard -- that left her Asia --
Memories -- of Palm --
Cannot be stifled -- with Narcotic --
Nor suppressed -- with Balm --
The World -- stands -- solemner -- to me --
Since I was wed -- to Him --
A modesty befits the soul
That bears another's -- name --
A doubt -- if it be fair -- indeed --
To wear that perfect -- pearl --
The Man -- upon the Woman -- binds --
To clasp her soul -- for all --
A prayer, that it more angel -- prove --
A whiter Gift -- within --
To that munificence, that chose --
So unadorned -- a Queen --
A Gratitude -- that such be true --
It had esteemed the Dream --
Too beautiful -- for Shape to prove --
Or posture -- to redeem!
Going to Him! Happy letter!
Tell Him --
Tell Him the page I didn't write --
Tell Him -- I only said the Syntax --
And left the Verb and the pronoun out --
Tell Him just how the fingers hurried --
Then -- how they waded -- slow -- slow --
And then you wished you had eyes in your pages --
So you could see what moved them so --
Tell Him -- it wasn't a Practised Writer --
You guessed -- from the way the sentence toiled --
You could hear the Bodice tug, behind you --
As if it held but the might of a child --
You almost pitied it -- you -- it worked so --
Tell Him -- no -- you may quibble there --
For it would split His Heart, to know it --
And then you and I, were silenter.
Tell Him -- Night finished -- before we finished --
And the Old Clock kept neighing "Day"!
And you -- got sleepy -- and begged to be ended --
What could it hinder so -- to say?
Tell Him -- just how she sealed you -- Cautious!
But -- if He ask where you are hid
Until tomorrow -- Happy letter!
Gesture Coquette -- and shake your Head!
It's thoughts -- and just One Heart --
And Old Sunshine -- about --
Make frugal -- Ones -- Content --
And two or three -- for Company --
Upon a Holiday --
Crowded -- as Sacrament --
Books -- when the Unit --
Spare the Tenant -- long eno' --
A Picture -- if it Care --
Itself -- a Gallery too rare --
For needing more --
Flowers -- to keep the Eyes -- from going awkward --
When it snows --
A Bird -- if they -- prefer --
Though Winter fire -- sing clear as Plover --
To our -- ear --
A Landscape -- not so great
To suffocate the Eye --
A Hill -- perhaps --
Perhaps -- the profile of a Mill
Turned by the Wind --
Tho' such -- are luxuries --
It's thoughts -- and just two Heart --
And Heaven -- about --
At least -- a Counterfeit --
We would not have Correct --
And Immortality -- can be almost --
Not quite -- Content --
As far from pity, as complaint --
As cool to speech -- as stone --
As numb to Revelation
As if my Trade were Bone --
As far from time -- as History --
As near yourself -- Today --
As Children, to the Rainbow's scarf --
Or Sunset's Yellow play
To eyelids in the Sepulchre --
How dumb the Dancer lies --
While Color's Revelations break --
And blaze -- the Butterflies!
He strained my faith --
Did he find it supple?
Shook my strong trust --
Did it then -- yield?
Hurled my belief --
But -- did he shatter -- it?
Racked -- with suspense --
Not a nerve failed!
Wrung me -- with Anguish --
But I never doubted him --
'Tho' for what wrong
He did never say --
Stabbed -- while I sued
His sweet forgiveness --
Jesus -- it's your little "John"!
Don't you know -- me?
I envy Seas, whereon He rides --
I envy Spokes of Wheels
Of Chariots, that Him convey --
I envy Crooked 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 --
That just abroad His Window
Have Summer's leave to play --
The Ear Rings 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 -- be Noon to Him --
Yet interdict -- my Blossom --
And abrogate -- my Bee --
Lest Noon in Everlasting Night --
Drop Gabriel -- and Me --
Those fair -- fictitious People --
The Women -- plucked away
From our familiar Lifetime --
The Men of Ivory --
Those Boys and Girls, in Canvas --
Who stay upon the Wall
In Everlasting Keepsake --
Can Anybody tell?
We trust -- in places perfecter --
Beyond our faint Conjecture --
Our dizzy Estimate --
Remembering ourselves, we trust --
Yet Blesseder -- than We --
Through Knowing -- where We only hope --
Receiving -- where we -- pray --
Of Expectation -- also --
With transport, that would be a pain
Except for Holiness --
Esteeming us -- as Exile --
Themself -- admitted Home --
Through easy Miracle of Death --
The Way ourself, must come --
Within my Garden, rides a Bird
Upon a single Wheel --
Whose spokes a dizzy Music make
As 'twere a travelling Mill --
He never stops, but slackens
Above the Ripest Rose --
Partakes without alighting
And praises as he goes,
Till every spice is tasted --
And then his Fairy Gig
Reels in remoter atmospheres --
And I rejoin my Dog,
And He and I, perplex us
If positive, 'twere we --
Or bore the Garden in the Brain
This Curiosity --
But He, the best Logician,
Refers my clumsy eye --
To just vibrating Blossoms!
An Exquisite Reply!
This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond --
Invisible, as Music --
But positive, as Sound --
It beckons, and it baffles --
Philosophy -- don't know --
And through a Riddle, at the last --
Sagacity, must go --
To guess it, puzzles scholars --
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown --
Faith slips -- and laughs, and rallies --
Blushes, if any see --
Plucks at a twig of Evidence --
And asks a Vane, the way --
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit --
Strong Hallelujahs roll --
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul --
At least -- to pray -- is left -- is left --
Oh Jesus -- in the Air --
I know not which thy chamber is --
I'm knocking -- everywhere --
Thou settest Earthquake in the South --
And Maelstrom, in the Sea --
Say, Jesus Christ of Nazareth --
Hast thou no Arm for Me?
Better -- than Music! For I -- who heard it --
I was used -- to the Birds -- before --
This -- was different -- 'Twas Translation --
Of all tunes I knew -- and more --
'Twasn't contained -- like other stanza --
No one could play it -- the second time --
But the Composer -- perfect Mozart --
Perish with him -- that Keyless Rhyme!
So -- Children -- told how Brooks in Eden --
Bubbled a better -- Melody --
Quaintly infer -- Eve's great surrender --
Urging the feet -- that would -- not -- fly --
Children -- matured -- are wiser -- mostly --
Eden -- a legend -- dimly told --
Eve -- and the Anguish -- Grandame's story --
But -- I was telling a tune -- I heard --
Not such a strain -- the Church -- baptizes --
When the last Saint -- goes up the Aisles --
Not such a stanza splits the silence --
When the Redemption strikes her Bells --
Let me not spill -- its smallest cadence --
Humming -- for promise -- when alone --
Humming -- until my faint Rehearsal --
Drop into tune -- around the Throne --
You know that Portrait in the Moon --
So tell me who 'tis like --
The very Brow -- the stooping eyes --
A fog for -- Say -- Whose Sake?
The very Pattern of the Cheek --
It varies -- in the Chin --
But -- Ishmael -- since we met -- 'tis long --
And fashions -- intervene --
When Moon's at full -- 'Tis Thou -- I say --
My lips just hold the name --
When crescent -- Thou art worn -- I note --
But -- there -- the Golden Same --
And when -- Some Night -- Bold -- slashing Clouds
Cut Thee away from Me --
That's easier -- than the other film
That glazes Holiday --
I would not paint -- a picture --
I'd rather be the One
Its bright impossibility
To dwell -- delicious -- on --
And wonder how the fingers feel
Whose rare -- celestial -- stir --
Evokes so sweet a Torment --
Such sumptuous -- Despair --
I would not talk, like Cornets --
I'd rather be the One
Raised softly to the Ceilings --
And out, and easy on --
Through Villages of Ether --
Myself endued Balloon
By but a lip of Metal --
The pier to my Pontoon --
Nor would I be a Poet --
It's finer -- own the Ear --
Enamored -- impotent -- content --
The License to revere,
A privilege so awful
What would the Dower be,
Had I the Art to stun myself
With Bolts of Melody!
He touched me, so I live to know
That such a day, permitted so,
I groped upon his breast --
It was a boundless place to me
And silenced, as the awful sea
Puts minor streams to rest.
And now, I'm different from before,
As if I breathed superior air --
Or brushed a Royal Gown --
My feet, too, that had wandered so --
My Gypsy face -- transfigured now --
To tenderer Renown --
Into this Port, if I might come,
Rebecca, to Jerusalem,
Would not so ravished turn --
Nor Persian, baffled at her shrine
Lift such a Crucifixial sign
To her imperial Sun.
She sights a Bird -- she chuckles --
She flattens -- then she crawls --
She runs without the look of feet --
Her eyes increase to Balls --
Her Jaws stir -- twitching -- hungry --
Her Teeth can hardly stand --
She leaps, but Robin leaped the first --
Ah, Pussy, of the Sand,
The Hopes so juicy ripening --
You almost bather your Tongue --
When Bliss disclosed a hundred Toes --
And fled with every one --
I'm ceded -- I've stopped being Theirs --
The name They dropped upon my face
With water, in the country church
Is finished using, now,
And They can put it with my Dolls,
My childhood, and the string of spools,
I've finished threading -- too --
Baptized, before, without the choice,
But this time, consciously, of Grace --
Unto supremest name --
Called to my Full -- The Crescent dropped --
Existence's whole Arc, filled up,
With one small Diadem.
My second Rank -- too small the first --
Crowned -- Crowing -- on my Father's breast --
A half unconscious Queen --
But this time -- Adequate -- Erect,
With Will to choose, or to reject,
And I choose, just a Crown --
If anybody's friend be dead
It's sharpest of the theme
The thinking how they walked alive --
At such and such a time --
Their costume, of a Sunday,
Some manner of the Hair --
A prank nobody knew but them
Lost, in the Sepulchre --
How warm, they were, on such a day,
You almost feel the date --
So short way off it seems --
And now -- they're Centuries from that --
How pleased they were, at what you said --
You try to touch the smile
And dip your fingers in the frost --
When was it -- Can you tell --
You asked the Company to tea --
Acquaintance -- just a few --
And chatted close with this Grand Thing
That don't remember you --
Past Bows, and Invitations --
Past Interview, and Vow --
Past what Ourself can estimate --
That -- makes the Quick of Woe!
It was not Death, for I stood up,
And all the Dead, lie down --
It was not Night, for all the Bells
Put out their Tongues, for Noon.
It was not Frost, for on my Flesh
I felt Siroccos -- crawl --
Nor Fire -- for just my Marble feet
Could keep a Chancel, cool --
And yet, it tasted, like them all,
The Figures I have seen
Set orderly, for Burial,
Reminded me, of mine --
As if my life were shaven,
And fitted to a frame,
And could not breathe without a key,
And 'twas like Midnight, some -
When everything that ticked -- has stopped --
And Space stares all around --
Or Grisly frosts -- first Autumn morns,
Repeal the Beating Ground --
But, most, like Chaos - Stopless -- cool --
Without a Change, or Spar --
Or even a Report of Land --
To justify -- Despair.
If you were coming in the Fall,
I'd brush the Summer by
With half a smile, and half a spurn,
As Housewives do, a Fly.
If I could see you in a year,
I'd wind the months in balls --
And put them each in separate Drawers,
For fear the numbers fuse --
If only Centuries, delayed,
I'd count them on my Hand,
Subtracting, till my fingers dropped
Into Van Dieman's Land.
If certain, when this life was out --
That yours and mine, should be
I'd toss it yonder, like a Rind,
And take Eternity --
But, now, uncertain of the length
Of this, that is between,
It goads me, like the Goblin Bee --
That will not state -- its sting.
The Soul has Bandaged moments --
When too appalled to stir --
She feels some ghastly Fright come up
And stop to look at her --
Salute her -- with long fingers --
Caress her freezing hair --
Sip, Goblin, from the very lips
The Lover -- hovered -- o'er --
Unworthy, that a thought so mean
Accost a Theme -- so -- fair --
The soul has moments of Escape --
When bursting all the doors --
She dances like a Bomb, abroad,
And swings upon the Hours,
As do the Bee -- delirious borne --
Long Dungeoned from his Rose --
Touch Liberty -- then know no more,
But Noon, and Paradise --
The Soul's retaken moments --
When, Felon led along,
With shackles on the plumed feet,
And staples, in the Song,
The Horror welcomes her, again,
These, are not brayed of Tongue --
Like Flowers, that heard the news 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 --
Or Arctic Creatures, dimly stirred --
By Tropic Hint -- some Travelled Bird
Imported to the Wood --
Or Wind's bright signal to the Ear --
Making that homely, and severe,
Contented, known, before --
The Heaven -- unexpected come,
To Lives that thought the Worshipping
A too presumptuous Psalm --
Her smile was shaped like other smiles --
The Dimples ran along --
And still it hurt you, as some Bird
Did hoist herself, to sing,
Then recollect a Ball, she got --
And hold upon the Twig,
Convulsive, while the Music broke --
Like Beads -- among the Bog --
No Crowd that has occurred
Exhibit -- I suppose
That General Attendance
That Resurrection -- does --
Circumference be full --
The long restricted Grave
Assert her Vital Privilege --
The Dust -- connect -- and live --
On Atoms -- features place --
All Multitudes that were
Efface in the Comparison --
As Suns -- dissolve a star --
Solemnity -- prevail --
Its Individual Doom
Possess each separate Consciousness --
August -- Absorbed -- Numb --
What Duplicate -- exist --
What Parallel can be --
Of the Significance of This --
To Universe -- and Me?
Beauty -- be not caused -- It Is --
Chase it, and it ceases --
Chase it not, and it abides --
Overtake the Creases
In the Meadow -- when the Wind
Runs his fingers thro' it --
Deity will see to it
That You never do it --
He parts Himself -- like Leaves --
And then -- He closes up --
Then stands upon the Bonnet
Of Any Buttercup --
And then He runs against
And oversets a Rose --
And then does Nothing --
Then away upon a Jib -- He goes --
And dangles like a Mote
Suspended in the Noon --
Uncertain -- to return Below --
Or settle in the Moon --
What come of Him -- at Night --
The privilege to say
Be limited by Ignorance --
What come of Him -- That Day --
The Frost -- possess the World --
In Cabinets -- be shown --
A Sepulchre of quaintest Floss --
An Abbey -- a Cocoon --
Her sweet Weight on my Heart a Night
Had scarcely deigned to lie --
When, stirring, for Belief's delight,
My Bride had slipped away --
If 'twas a Dream -- made solid -- just
The Heaven to confirm --
Or if Myself were dreamed of Her --
The power to presume --
With Him remain -- who unto Me --
Gave -- even as to All --
A Fiction superseding Faith --
By so much -- as 'twas real --
'Twas warm -- at first -- like Us --
Until there crept upon
A Chill -- like frost upon a Glass --
Till all the scene -- be gone.
The Forehead copied Stone --
The Fingers grew too cold
To ache -- and like a Skater's Brook --
The busy eyes -- congealed --
It straightened -- that was all --
It crowded Cold to Cold --
It multiplied indifference --
As Pride were all it could --
And even when with Cords --
'Twas lowered, like a Weight --
It made no Signal, nor demurred,
But dropped like Adamant.
I started Early -- Took my Dog --
And visited the Sea --
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me --
And Frigates -- in the Upper Floor
Extended Hempen Hands --
Presuming Me to be a Mouse --
Aground -- upon the Sands --
But no Man moved Me -- till the Tide
Went past my simple Shoe --
And past my Apron -- and my Belt --
And past my Bodice -- too --
And made as He would eat me up --
As wholly as a Dew
Upon a Dandelion's Sleeve --
And then -- I started -- too --
And He -- He followed -- close behind --
I felt his Silver Heel
Upon my Ankle -- Then my Shoes
Would overflow with Pearl --
Until We met the Solid Town --
No One He seemed to know --
And bowing -- with a Might look --
At me -- The Sea withdrew --
Endow the Living -- with the Tears --
You squander on the Dead,
And They were Men and Women -- now,
Around Your Fireside --
Instead of Passive Creatures,
Denied the Cherishing
Till They -- the Cherishing deny --
With Death's Ethereal Scron --
Had I presumed to hope --
The loss had been to Me
A Value -- for the Greatness' Sake --
As Giants -- gone away --
Had I presumed to gain
A Favor so remote --
The failure but confirm the Grace
In further Infinite --
'Tis failure -- not of Hope --
But Confident Despair --
Advancing on Celestial Lists --
With faint -- Terrestial power --
'Tis Honor -- though I die --
For That no Man obtain
Till He be justified by Death --
This -- is the Second Gain --
Sweet -- You forgot -- but I remembered
Every time -- for Two --
So that the Sum be never hindered
Through Decay of You --
Say if I erred? Accuse my Farthings --
Blame the little Hand
Happy it be for You -- a Beggar's --
Seeking More -- to spend --
Just to be Rich -- to waste my Guineas
On so Best a Heart --
Just to be Poor -- for Barefoot Vision
You -- Sweet -- Shut me out --
Departed -- to the Judgment --
A Mighty Afternoon --
Great Clouds -- like Ushers -- learning --
Creation -- looking on --
The Flesh -- Surrendered -- Cancelled --
The Bodiless -- begun --
Two Worlds -- like Audiences -- disperse --
And leave the Soul -- alone --
I think the Hemlock likes to stand
Upon a Marge of Snow --
It suits his own Austerity --
And satisfies an awe
That men, must slake in Wilderness --
And in the Desert -- cloy --
An instinct for the Hoar, the Bald --
Lapland's -- necessity --
The Hemlock's nature thrives -- on cold --
The Gnash of Northern winds
Is sweetest nutriment -- to him --
His best Norwegian Wines --
To satin Races -- he is nought --
But Children on the Don,
Beneath his Tabernacles, play,
And Dnieper Wrestlers, run.
To hear an Oriole sing
May be a common thing --
Or only a divine.
It is not of the Bird
Who sings the same, unheard,
As unto Crowd --
The Fashion of the Ear
Attireth that it hear
In Dun, or fair --
So whether it be Rune,
Or whether it be none
Is of within.
The "Tune is in the Tree --"
The Skeptic -- showeth me --
"No Sir! In Thee!"
To put this World down, like a Bundle --
And walk steady, away,
Requires Energy -- possibly Agony --
'Tis the Scarlet way
Trodden with straight renunciation
By the Son of God --
Later, his faint Confederates
Justify the Road --
Flavors of that old Crucifixion --
Filaments of Bloom, Pontius Pilate sowed --
Strong Clusters, from Barabbas' Tomb --
Sacrament, Saints partook before us --
Patent, every drop,
With the Brand of the Gentile Drinker
Who indorsed the Cup --
Mine -- by the Right of the White Election!
Mine -- by the Royal Seal!
Mine -- by the Sign in the Scarlet prison --
Bars -- cannot conceal!
Mine -- here -- in Vision -- and in Veto!
Mine -- by the Grave's Repeal --
Tilted -- Confirmed --
Mine -- long as Ages steal!
I'm sorry for the Dead -- Today --
It's such congenial times
Old Neighbors have at fences --
It's time o' year for Hay.
And Broad -- Sunburned Acquaintance
Discourse between the Toil --
And laugh, a homely species
That makes the Fences smile --
It seems so straight to lie away
From all of the noise of Fields --
The Busy Carts -- the fragrant Cocks --
The Mower's Metre -- Steals --
A Trouble lest they're homesick --
Those Farmers -- and their Wives --
Set separate from the Farming --
And all the Neighbors' lives --
A Wonder if the Sepulchre
Don't feel a lonesome way --
When Men -- and Boys -- and Carts -- and June,
Go down the Fields to "Hay" --
You cannot put a Fire out --
A Thing that can ignite
Can go, itself, without a Fan --
Upon the slowest Night --
You cannot fold a Flood --
And put it in a Drawer --
Because the Winds would find it out --
And tell your Cedar Floor --
We dream -- it is good we are dreaming --
It would hurt us -- were we awake --
But since it is playing -- kill us,
And we are playing -- shriek --
What harm? Men die -- externally --
It is a truth -- of Blood --
But we -- are dying in Drama --
And Drama -- is never dead --
Cautious -- We jar each other --
And either -- open the eyes --
Lest the Phantasm -- prove the Mistake --
And the livid Surprise
Cool us to Shafts of Granite --
With just an Age -- and Name --
And perhaps a phrase in Egyptian --
It's prudenter -- to dream --
I tried to think a lonelier Thing
Than any I had seen --
Some Polar Expiation -- An Omen in the Bone
Of Death's tremendous nearness --
I probed Retrieverless things
My Duplicate -- to borrow --
A Haggard Comfort springs
From the belief that Somewhere --
Within the Clutch of Thought --
There dwells one other Creature
Of Heavenly Love -- forgot --
I plucked at our Partition
As One should pry the Walls --
Between Himself -- and Horror's Twin --
Within Opposing Cells --
I almost strove to clasp his Hand,
Such Luxury -- it grew --
That as Myself -- could pity Him --
Perhaps he -- pitied me --
Two butterflies went out at Noon --
And waltzed upon a Farm --
Then stepped straight through the Firmament
And rested, on a Beam --
And then -- together bore away
Upon a shining Sea --
Though never yet, in any Port --
Their coming, mentioned -- be --
If spoken by the distant Bird --
If met in Ether Sea
By Frigate, or by Merchantman --
No notice -- was -- to me --
We see -- Comparatively --
The Thing so towering high
We could not grasp its segment
Unaided -- Yesterday --
This Morning's finer Verdict --
Makes scarcely worth the toil --
A furrow -- Our Cordillera --
Our Apennine -- a Knoll --
Perhaps 'tis kindly -- done us --
The Anguish -- and the loss --
The wrenching -- for His Firmament
The Thing belonged to us --
To spare these Striding Spirits
Some Morning of Chagrin --
The waking in a Gnat's -- embrace --
Our Giants -- further on --
She's happy, with a new Content --
That feels to her -- like Sacrament --
She's busy -- with an altered Care --
As just apprenticed to the Air --
She's tearful -- if she weep at all --
For blissful Causes -- Most of all
That Heaven permit so meek as her --
To such a Fate -- to Minister.
The Heart asks Pleasure -- first --
And then -- Excuse from Pain --
And then -- those little Anodyness
That deaden suffering --
And then -- to go to sleep --
And then -- if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor
The privilege to die --
Me prove it now -- Whoever doubt
Me stop to prove it -- now --
Make haste -- the Scruple! Death be scant
For Opportunity --
The River reaches to my feet --
As yet -- My Heart be dry --
Oh Lover -- Life could not convince --
Might Death -- enable Thee --
The River reaches to My Breast --
Still -- still -- My Hands above
Proclaim with their remaining Might --
Dost recognize the Love?
The River reaches to my Mouth --
Remember -- when the Sea
Swept by my searching eyes -- the last --
Themselves were quick -- with Thee!
'Tis true -- They shut me in the Cold --
But then -- Themselves were warm
And could not know the feeling 'twas --
Forget it -- Lord -- of Them --
Let not my Witness hinder Them
In Heavenly esteem --
No Paradise could be -- Conferred
Through Their beloved Blame --
The Harm They did -- was short -- And since
Myself -- who bore it -- do --
Forgive Them -- Even as Myself --
Or else -- forgive not me --
The Province of the Saved
Should be the Art -- To save --
Through Skill obtained in Themselves --
The Science of the Grave
No Man can understand
But He that hath endured
The Dissolution -- in Himself --
That Man -- be qualified
To qualify Despair
To Those who failing new --
Mistake Defeat for Death -- Each time --
Till acclimated -- to --
I took my Power in my Hand --
And went against the World --
'Twas not so much as David -- had --
But I -- was twice as bold --
I aimed by Pebble -- but Myself
Was all the one that fell --
Was it Goliath -- was too large --
Or was myself -- too small?
Some such Butterfly be seen
On Brazilian Pampas --
Just at noon -- no later -- Sweet --
Then -- the License closes --
Some such Spice -- express and pass --
Subject to Your Plucking --
As the Stars -- You knew last Night --
Foreigners -- This Morning --
I had no Cause to be awake --
My Best -- was gone to sleep --
And Morn a new politeness took --
And failed to wake them up --
But called the others -- clear --
And passed their Curtains by --
Sweet Morning -- when I oversleep --
Knock -- Recollect -- to Me --
I looked at Sunrise -- Once --
And then I looked at Them --
And wishfulness in me arose --
For Circumstance the same --
'Twas such an Ample Peace --
It could not hold a Sigh --
'Twas Sabbath -- with the Bells divorced --
'Twas Sunset -- all the Day --
So choosing but a Gown --
And taking but a Prayer --
The only Raiment I should need --
I struggled -- and was There --
I fear a Man of frugal Speech --
I fear a Silent Man --
Haranguer -- I can overtake --
Or Babbler -- entertain --
But He who weigheth -- While the Rest --
Expend their furthest pound --
Of this Man -- I am wary --
I fear that He is Grand --
The Martyr Poets -- did not tell --
But wrought their Pang in syllable --
That when their mortal name be numb --
Their mortal fate -- encourage Some --
The Martyr Painters -- never spoke --
Bequeathing -- rather -- to their Work --
That when their conscious fingers cease --
Some seek in Art -- the Art of Peace --
'Tis One by One -- the Father counts --
And then a Tract between
Set Cypherless -- to teach the Eye
The Value of its Ten --
Until the peevish Student
Acquire the Quick of Skill --
Then Numerals are dowered back --
Adorning all the Rule --
'Tis mostly Slate and Pencil --
And Darkness on the School
Distracts the Children's fingers --
Still the Eternal Rule
Regards least Cypherer alike
With Leader of the Band --
And every separate Urchin's Sum --
Is fashioned for his hand --
To fill a Gap
Insert the Thing that caused it --
Block it up
With Other -- and 'twill yawn the more --
You cannot solder an Abyss
I've seen a Dying Eye
Run round and round a Room --
In search of Something -- as it seemed --
Then Cloudier become --
And then -- obscure with Fog --
And then -- be soldered down
Without disclosing what it be
'Twere blessed to have seen --
Death is potential to that Man
Who dies -- and to his friend --
Beyond that -- unconspicuous
To Anyone but God --
Of these Two -- God remembers
The longest -- for the friend --
Is integral -- and therefore
Itself dissolved -- of God --
That I did always love
I bring thee Proof
That till I loved
I never lived -- Enough --
That I shall love alway --
I argue thee
That love is life --
And life hath Immortality --
This -- dost thou doubt -- Sweet --
Then have I
Nothing to show
But Calvary --
I cross till I am weary
A Mountain -- in my mind --
More Mountains -- then a Sea --
More Seas -- And then
A Desert -- find --
And My Horizon blocks
With steady -- drifting -- Grains
Of unconjectured quantity --
As Asiatic Rains --
Nor this -- defeat my Pace --
It hinder from the West
But as an Enemy's Salute
One hurrying to Rest --
What merit had the Goal --
Except there intervene
Faint Doubt -- and far Competitor --
To jeopardize the Gain?
At last -- the Grace in sight --
I shout unto my feet --
I offer them the Whole of Heaven
The instant that we meet --
They strive -- and yet delay --
They perish -- Do we die --
Or is this Death's Experiment --
Reversed -- in Victory?
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 that's -- Behind the Grave --
An ignorance a Sunset
Confer upon the Eye --
Of Territory -- Color --
Circumference -- Decay --
Its Amber Revelation
Exhilirate -- Debase --
Of Our inferior face --
And when the solemn features
Confirm -- in Victory --
We start -- as if detected
In Immortality --
One Crucifixion is recorded -- only --
How many be
Is not affirmed of Mathematics --
Or History --
One Calvary -- exhibited to Stranger --
As many be
As persons -- or Peninsulas --
Is but a Province -- in the Being's Centre --
For Journey -- or Crusade's Achieving --
Too near --
Our Lord -- indeed -- made Compound Witness --
And yet --
There's newer -- nearer Crucifixion
Than That --
The Black Berry -- wears a Thorn in his side --
But no Man heard Him cry --
He offers His Berry, just the same
To Partridge -- and to Boy --
He sometimes holds upon the Fence --
Or struggles to a Tree --
Or clasps a Rock, with both His Hands --
But not for Sympathy --
We -- tell a Hurt -- to cool it --
This Mourner -- to the Sky
A little further reaches -- instead --
Brave Black Berry --
Trust in the Unexpected --
By this -- was William Kidd
Persuaded of the Buried Gold --
As One had testified --
Through this -- the old Philosopher --
His Talismanic Stone
Discerned -- still withholden
To effort undivine --
'Twas this -- allured Columbus --
When Genoa -- withdrew
Before an Apparition
Baptized America --
The Same -- afflicted Thomas --
When Deity assured
'Twas better -- the perceiving not --
Provided it believed --
The Brain, within its Groove
Runs evenly -- and true --
But let a Splinter swerve --
'Twere easier for You --
To put a Current back --
When Floods have slit the Hills --
And scooped a Turnpike for Themselves --
And trodden out the Mills --
She hideth Her the last --
And is the first, to rise --
Her Night doth hardly recompense
The Closing of Her eyes --
She doth Her Purple Work --
And putteth Her away
In low Apartments in the Sod -
As worthily as We.
To imitate her life
As impotent would be
As make of Our imperfect Mints,
The Julep -- of the Bee --
But little Carmine hath her face --
Of Emerald scant -- her Gown --
Her Beauty -- is the love she doth --
Itself -- exhibit -- Mine --
It knew no Medicine --
It was not Sickness -- then --
Nor any need of Surgery --
And therefore -- 'twas not Pain --
It moved away the Cheeks --
A Dimple at a time --
And left the Profile -- plainer --
And in the place of Bloom
It left the little Tint
That never had a Name --
You've seen it on a Cast's face --
Was Paradise -- to blame --
If momently ajar --
Temerity -- drew near --
And sickened -- ever afterward
For Somewhat that it saw?
It knew no lapse, nor Diminuation --
But large -- serene --
Burned on -- until through Dissolution --
It failed from Men --
I could not deem these Planetary forces
But suffered an Exchange of Territory --
Or World --
I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, Eyes --
I wonder if It weighs like Mine --
Or has an Easier size.
I wonder if They bore it long --
Or did it just begin --
I could not tell the Date of Mine --
It feels so old a pain --
I wonder if it hurts to live --
And if They have to try --
And whether -- could They choose between --
It would not be -- to die --
I note that Some -- gone patient long --
At length, renew their smile --
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil --
I wonder if when Years have piled --
Some Thousands -- on the Harm --
That hurt them early -- such a lapse
Could give them any Balm --
Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve --
Enlightened to a larger Pain -
In Contrast with the Love --
The Grieved -- are many -- I am told --
There is the various Cause --
Death -- is but one -- and comes but once --
And only nails the eyes --
There's Grief of Want -- and Grief of Cold --
A sort they call "Despair" --
There's Banishment from native Eyes --
In sight of Native Air --
And though I may not guess the kind --
Correctly -- yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary --
To note the fashions -- of the Cross --
And how they're mostly worn --
Still fascinated to presume
That Some -- are like My Own --
Conjecturing a Climate
Of unsuspended Suns --
Adds poignancy to Winter --
The Shivering Fancy turns
To a fictitious Country
To palliate a Cold --
Not obviated of Degree --
Nor erased -- of Latitude --
I could not prove the Years had feet --
Yet confident they run
Am I, from symptoms that are past
And Series that are done --
I find my feet have further Goals --
I smile upon the Aims
That felt so ample -- Yesterday --
Today's -- have vaster claims --
I do not doubt the self I was
Was competent to me --
But something awkward in the fit --
Proves that -- outgrown -- I see --
My period had come for Prayer --
No other Art -- would do --
My Tactics missed a rudiment --
Creator -- Was it you?
God grows above -- so those who pray
Horizons -- must ascend --
And so I stepped upon the North
To see this Curious Friend --
His House was not -- no sign had He --
By Chimney -- nor by Door
Could I infer his Residence --
Vast Prairies of Air
Unbroken by a Settler --
Were all that I could see --
Infinitude -- Had'st Thou no Face
That I might look on Thee?
The Silence condescended --
Creation stopped -- for Me --
But awed beyond my errand --
I worshipped -- did not "pray" --
One Anguish -- in a Crowd --
A Minor thing -- it sounds --
And yet, unto the single Doe
Attempted of the Hounds
'Tis Terror as consummate
As Legions of Alarm
Did leap, full flanked, upon the Host --
'Tis Units -- make the Swarm --
A Small Leech -- on the Vitals --
The sliver, in the Lung --
The Bung out -- of an Artery --
Are scarce accounted -- Harms --
Yet might -- by relation
To that Repealless thing --
A Being -- impotent to end --
When once it has begun --
A Dying Tiger -- moaned for Drink --
I hunted all the Sand --
I caught the Dripping of a Rock
And bore it in my Hand --
His Mighty Balls -- in death were thick --
But searching -- I could see
A Vision on the Retina
Of Water -- and of me --
'Twas not my blame -- who sped too slow --
'Twas not his blame -- who died
While I was reaching him --
But 'twas -- the fact that He was dead --
He gave away his Life --
To Us -- Gigantic Sum --
A trifle -- in his own esteem --
But magnified -- by Fame --
Until it burst the Hearts
That fancied they could hold --
When swift it slipped its limit --
And on the Heavens -- unrolled --
'Tis Ours -- to wince -- and weep --
And wonder -- and decay
By Blossoms gradual process --
He chose -- Maturity --
And quickening -- as we sowed --
Just obviated Bud --
And when We turned to note the Growth --
Broke -- perfect -- from the Pod --
We learned the Whole of Love --
The Alphabet -- the Words --
A Chapter -- then the mighty Book --
Then -- Revelation closed --
But in Each Other's eyes
An Ignorance beheld --
Diviner than the Childhood's --
And each to each, a Child --
Attempted to expound
What Neither -- understood --
Alas, that Wisdom is so large --
And Truth -- so manifold!
I reckon -- when I count it all --
First -- Poets -- Then the Sun --
Then Summer -- Then the Heaven of God --
And then -- the List is done --
But, looking back -- the First so seems
To Comprehend the Whole --
The Others look a needless Show --
So I write -- Poets -- All --
Their Summer -- lasts a Solid Year --
They can afford a Sun
The East -- would deem extravagant --
And if the Further Heaven --
Be Beautiful as they prepare
For Those who worship Them --
It is too difficult a Grace --
To justify the Dream --
I could die -- to know --
'Tis a trifling knowledge --
News-Boys salute the Door --
Carts -- joggle by --
Morning's bold face -- stares in the window --
Were but mine -- the Charter of the least Fly --
Houses hunch the House
With their Brick Shoulders --
Coals -- from a Rolling Load -- rattle -- how -- near --
To the very Square -- His foot is passing --
Possibly, this moment --
While I -- dream -- Here --
Must be a Woe --
A loss or so --
To bend the eye
Best Beauty's way --
But -- once aslant
It notes Delight
A Common Bliss
Were had for less --
The price -- is
Even as the Grace --
Our lord -- thought no
To pay -- a Cross --
Delight -- becomes pictorial --
When viewed through Pain --
More fair -- because impossible
Than any gain --
The Mountain -- at a given distance --
In Amber -- lies --
Approached -- the Amber flits -- a little --
And That's -- the Skies --
The Test of Love -- is Death --
Our Lord -- "so loved" -- it saith --
What Largest Lover -- hath
Another -- doth --
If smaller Patience -- be --
Through less Infinity --
If Bravo, sometimes swerve --
Through fainter Nerve --
Accept its Most --
And overlook -- the Dust --
Last -- Least --
The Cross' -- Request --
My first well Day -- since many ill --
I asked to go abroad,
And take the Sunshine in my hands,
And see the things in Pod --
A 'blossom just when I went in
To take my Chance with pain --
Uncertain if myself, or He,
Should prove the strongest One.
The Summer deepened, while we strove --
She put some flowers away --
And Redder cheeked Ones -- in their stead --
A fond -- illusive way --
To cheat Herself, it seemed she tried --
As if before a child
To fade -- Tomorrow -- Rainbows held
The Sepulchre, could hide.
She dealt a fashion to the Nut --
She tied the Hoods to Seeds --
She dropped bright scraps of Tint, about --
And left Brazilian Threads
On every shoulder that she met --
Then both her Hands of Haze
Put up -- to hide her parting Grace
From our unfitted eyes.
My loss, by sickness -- Was it Loss?
Or that Ethereal Gain
One earns by measuring the Grave --
Then -- measuring the Sun --
"Heaven" has different Signs -- to me --
Sometimes, I think that Noon
Is but a symbol of the Place --
And when again, at Dawn,
A mighty look runs round the World
And settles in the Hills --
An Awe if it should be like that
Upon the Ignorance steals --
The Orchard, when the Sun is on --
The Triumph of the Birds
When they together Victory make --
Some Carnivals of Clouds --
The Rapture of a finished Day --
Returning to the West --
All these -- remind us of the place
That Men call "paradise" --
Itself be fairer -- we suppose --
But how Ourself, shall be
Adorned, for a Superior Grace --
Not yet, our eyes can see --
I prayed, at first, a little Girl,
Because they told me to --
But stopped, when qualified to guess
How prayer would feel -- to me --
If I believed God looked around,
Each time my Childish eye
Fixed full, and steady, on his own
In Childish honesty --
And told him what I'd like, today,
And parts of his far plan
That baffled me --
The mingled side
Of his Divinity --
And often since, in Danger,
I count the force 'twould be
To have a God so strong as that
To hold my life for me
Till I could take the Balance
That tips so frequent, now,
It takes me all the while to poise --
And then -- it doesn't stay --
If I may have it, when it's dead,
I'll be contented -- so --
If just as soon as Breath is out
It shall belong to me --
Until they lock it in the Grave,
'Tis Bliss I cannot weigh --
For tho' they lock Thee in the Grave,
Myself -- can own the key --
Think of it Lover! I and Thee
Permitted -- face to face to be --
After a Life -- a Death -- We'll say --
For Death was That --
And this -- is Thee --
I'll tell Thee All -- how Bald it grew --
How Midnight felt, at first -- to me --
How all the Clocks stopped in the World --
And Sunshine pinched me -- 'Twas so cold --
Then how the Grief got sleepy -- some --
As if my Soul were deaf and dumb --
Just making signs -- across -- to Thee --
That this way -- thou could'st notice me --
I'll tell you how I tried to keep
A smile, to show you, when this Deep
All Waded -- We look back for Play,
At those Old Times -- in Calvary,
Forgive me, if the Grave come slow --
For Coveting to look at Th