IT is so much joy! ’T is so much joy!
If I should fail, what poverty!
And yet, as poor as I
Have ventured all upon a throw;
Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so
This side the victory!
Life is but life, and death but death!
Bliss is but bliss, and breath but breath!
And if, indeed, I fail,
At least to know the worst is sweet.
Defeat means nothing but defeat,
No drearier can prevail! More→
GLEE! the great storm is over!
Four have recovered the land;
Forty gone down together
Into the boiling sand.
Ring, for the scant salvation!
Toll, for the bonnie souls —
Neighbor and friend and bridegroom,
Spinning upon the shoals! More→
IF I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain... More→
WITHIN my reach!
I could have touched!
I might have chanced that way!
Soft sauntered through the village,
Sauntered as soft away! More→
A WOUNDED deer leaps highest,
I’ve heard the hunter tell;
’T is but the ecstasy of death,
And then the brake is still. More→
THE heart asks pleasure first,
And then, excuse from pain;
And then, those little anodynes
That deaden suffering... More→
PRECIOUS, mouldering pleasure ’t is
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 knowledge to unfold
On what concerns our mutual mind,
The literature of old... More→
MUCH madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness. More→
I ASKED no other thing,
No other was denied.
I offered Being for it;
The mighty merchant smiled. More→
THE soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more. More→
SOME things that fly there be —
Birds, hours, the bumble-bee:
Of these no elegy.
Some things that stay there be —
Grief, hills, eternity:
Nor this behooveth me. More→
I KNOW some lonely houses off the road
A robber ’d like the look of —
And windows hanging low,
Where two could creep:
One hand the tools,
The other peep
To make sure all’s asleep.
Not easy to surprise! More→
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. More→
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...
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! More→
PAIN has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there were
A day when it was not. More→
ITASTE 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, through endless summer days,
From inns of molten blue. More→
HE ate and drank the precious words,
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust. More→
I HAD no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity. More→
’TWAS such a little, little boat
That toddled down the bay!
’T was such a gallant, gallant sea
That beckoned it away! More→
WHETHER my bark went down at sea,
Whether she met with gales,
Whether to isles enchanted
She bent her docile sails... More→
had a letter —
He never had but one;
Concluded — and begun
In that immortal copy... More→
THE brain within its groove
Runs evenly and true;
But let a splinter swerve
’T were easier for you... More→
LINKS to poems in first print order,
Mine, Bequest, Alter? More→
MINE by the right of the white election!
Mine by the royal seal!
Mine by the sign in the scarlet prison
Bars cannot conceal! More→
YOU left me sweet, two legacies, —
A legacy of love
A Heavenly Father would content,
Had He the offer of... More→
ALTER? When the hills do.
Falter? When the sun
Question if his glory
Be the perfect one. More→
LYSIUM is as far as to
The very nearest room,
If in that room a friend await
Felicity or doom. More→
DOUBT me, my dim companion!
Why, God would be content
With but a fraction of the love
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! More→
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,
Until their time befalls.
If only centuries delayed,
I’d count them on my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen’s land. More→
IHIDE myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too —
And angels know the rest. More→
HAT I did always love,
I bring thee proof:
That till I loved
I did not love enough. More→
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. More→
AS if some little Arctic flower,
Upon the polar hem,
Went wandering down the latitudes,
Until it puzzled came
To continents of summer... More→
MY river runs to thee:
Blue sea, wilt welcome me?
My river waits reply.
Oh, sea, look graciously! More→
ICANNOT live with you,
It would be life,
And life is over there
Behind the shelf
The sexton keeps the key to,
Our life — his
Like a cup
Discarded of the housewife,
Quaint or broken;
A newer Sevres pleases,
Old ones crack. More→
I was born on the prairie and the milk of its wheat, the red of its clover, the eyes of its women, gave me a song and a slogan.Here the water went down, the icebergs slid with gravel, the gaps and the valleys hissed, and the black loam came, and the yellow sandy loam.Here between … Continue reading Cornhuskers, Prairie
THERE came a day at summer’s full
Entirely for me;
I thought that such were for the saints,
Where revelations be.
The sun, as common, went abroad,
The flowers, accustomed, blew,
As if no soul the solstice passed
That maketh all things new. More→
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. More→
IT was a long parting, but the time
For interview had come;
Before the judgment-seat of God,
The last and second time
These fleshless lovers met,
A heaven in a gaze,
A heaven of heavens, the privilege
Of one another’s eyes. More→
I'M wife; I’ve finished that,
That other state;
I’m Czar, I’m woman now:
It’s safer so. More→
SHE to his requirement, dropped
The playthings of her life
To take the honorable work
Of woman and of wife. More→
COME slowly, Eden!
Lips unused to thee;
Bashful, sip thy jasmines... More→
Links to poems in first print order, New Feet within My Garden Go, May-Flower, Why? More→
NEW feet within my garden go,
New fingers stir the sod;
A troubadour upon the elm
Betrays the solitude. More→
PINK, small, and punctual,
Covert in April,
Candid in May,
Dear to the moss,
Known by the knoll... More→
THE murmur of a bee
A witchcraft yieldeth me.
If any ask me why,
’T were easier to die
Than tell. More→
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... More→
THE pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee... More→
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. More→