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Johnson, Thomas H., ed. Complete Poems. Boston: Llittle, Brown, 1960. PS1541 .A1



Sweet, to have had them lost

For news that they be saved --

The nearer they departed Us

The nearer they, restored,

Shall stand to Our Right Hand --

Most precious and the Dead --

Next precious

Those that rose to go --

Then thought of Us, and stayed.




The first Day that I was a Life

I recollect it -- How still --

That last Day that I was a Life

I recollect it -- as well --

‘Twas stiller -- though the first

Was still --

"Twas empty -- but the first

Was full --

This -- was my finallest Occasion --

But then

My tenderer Experiment

Toward Men --

"Which choose I"?

That -- I cannot say --

"Which choose They"?

Question Memory!




I hide myself within my flower,

That fading from your Vase,

You, unsuspecting, feel for me --

Almost a loneliness.




Had I not This, or This, I said,

Appealing to Myself,

In moment of prosperity --

Inadequate -- were Life --

"Thou hast not Me, nor Me" -- it said,

In Moment of Reverse --

"And yet Thou art industrious --

No need -- hadst Thou -- of us"?

My need -- was all I had -- I said --

The need did not reduce --

Because the food -- exterminate --

The hunger -- does not cease --

But diligence -- is sharper --

Proportioned to the Chance --

To feed upon the Retrograde --

Enfeebles -- the Advance --




Between My Country -- and the Others --

There is a Sea --

But Flowers -- negotiate between us --

As Ministry.




The Admirations -- and Contempts -- of time --

Show justest -- through an Open Tomb --

The Dying -- as it were a Height

Reorganizes Estimate

And what We saw not

We distinguish clear --

And mostly -- see not

What We saw before --

‘Tis Compound Vision --

Light -- enabling Light --

The Finite -- furnished

With the Infinite --

Convex -- and Concave Witness --

Back -- toward Time --

And forward --

Toward the God of Him --




Till Death -- is narrow Loving --

The scantest Heart extant

Will hold you till your privilege

Of Finiteness -- be spent --

But He whose loss procures you

Such Destitution that

Your Life too abject for itself

Thenceforward imitate --

Until -- Resemblance perfect --

Yourself, for His pursuit

Delight of Nature -- abdicate --

Exhibit Love -- somewhat --




‘Tis Sunrise -- Little Maid -- Hast Thou

No Station in the Day?

‘Twas not thy wont, to hinder so --

Retrieve thine industry --

‘Tis Noon -- My little Maid --

Alas -- and art thou sleeping yet?

The Lily -- waiting to be Wed --

The Bee -- Hast thou forgot?

My little Maid -- ‘Tis Night -- Alas

That Night should be to thee

Instead of Morning -- Had’st thou broached

Thy little Plan to Die --

Dissuade thee, if I could not, Sweet,

I might have aided -- thee --




I make His Crescent fill or lack --

His Nature is at Full

Or Quarter -- as I signify --

His Tides -- do I control --

He holds superior in the Sky

Or gropes, at my Command

Behind inferior Clouds -- or round

A Mist’s slow Colonnade --

But since We hold a Mutual Disc --

And front a Mutual Day --

Which is the Despot, neither knows --

Nor Whose -- the Tyranny --




Experience is the Angled Road

Preferred against the Mind

By -- Paradox -- the Mind itself --

Presuming it to lead

Quite Opposite -- How Complicate

The Discipline of Man --

Compelling Him to Choose Himself

His Preappointed Pain --




Too little way the House must lie

From every Human Heart

That holds in undisputed Lease

A white inhabitant --

Too narrow is the Right between --

Too imminent the chance --

Each Consciousness must emigrate

And lose its neighbor once --




Peace is a fiction of our Faith --

The Bells a Winter Night

Bearing the Neighbor out of Sound

That never did alight.




And this of all my Hopes

This, is the silent end

Bountiful colored, my Morning rose

Early and sere, its end

Never Bud from a Stem

Stepped with so gay a Foot

Never a Worm so confident

Bored at so brave a Root




I cannot be ashamed

Because I cannot see

The love you offer --


Reverses Modesty

And I cannot be proud

Because a Height so high

Involves Alpine


And Services of Snow.




Faith -- is the Pierless Bridge

Supporting what We see

Unto the Scene that We do not --

Too slender for the eye

It bears the Soul as bold

As it were rocked in Steel

With Arms of Steel at either side --

It joins -- behind the Veil

To what, could We presume

The Bridge would cease to be

To Our far, vacillating Feet

A first Necessity.




His Feet are shod with Gauze --

His Helmet, is of Gold,

His Breast, a Single Onyx

With Chrysophrase, inlaid.

His Labor is a Chant --

His Idleness -- a Tune --

Oh, for a Bee’s experience

Of Clovers, and of Noon!




Love -- is anterior to Life --

Posterior -- to Death --

Initial of Creation, and

The Exponent of Earth --




Only a Shrine, but Mine --

I made the Taper shine --

Madonna dim, to whom all Feet may come,

Regard a Nun --

Thou knowest every Woe --

Needless to tell thee -- so --

But can’st thou do

The Grace next to it -- heal?

That looks a harder skill to us --

Still -- just as easy, if it be thy Will

To thee -- Grant me --

Thou knowest, though, so Why tell thee?




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

Or help one fainting Robin

Unto his Nest again

I shall not live in Vain.




We can but follow to the Sun --

As oft as He go down

He leave Ourselves a Sphere behind --

‘Tis mostly -- following --

We go no further with the Dust

Than to the Earthen Door --

And then the Panels are reversed --

And we behold -- no more.




If it had no pencil

Would it try mine --

Worn -- now -- and dull -- sweet,

Writing much to thee.

If it had no word,

Would it make the Daisy,

Most as big as I was,

When it plucked me?




Those who have been in the Grave the longest --

Those who begin Today --

Equally perish from our Practise --

Death is the other way --

Foot of the Bold did least attempt it --

It -- is the White Exploit --

Once to achieve, annuls the power

Once to communicate --




How the Waters closed above Him

We shall never know --

How He stretched His Anguish to us

That -- is covered too --

Spreads the Pond Her Base of Lilies

Bold above the Boy

Whose unclaimed Hat and Jacket

Sum the History --




Love -- is that later Thing than Death --

More previous -- than Life --

Confirms it at its entrance -- And

Usurps it -- of itself --

Tastes Death -- the first -- to hand the sting

The Second -- to its friend --

Disarms the little interval --

Deposits Him with God --

Then hovers -- an inferior Guard --

Lest this Beloved Charge

Need -- once in an Eternity --

A smaller than the Large --




Struck, was I, not yet by Lightning --

Lightning -- lets away

Power to perceive His Process

With Vitality.

Maimed -- was I -- yet not by Venture --

Stone of stolid Boy --

Nor a Sportsman’s Peradventure --

Who mine Enemy?

Robbed -- was I -- intact to Bandit --

All my Mansion torn --

Sun -- withdrawn to Recognition --

Furthest shining -- done --

Yet was not the foe -- of any --

Not the smallest Bird

In the nearest Orchard dwelling

Be of Me -- afraid.

Most -- I love the Cause that slew Me.

Often as I die

Its beloved Recognition

Holds a Sun on Me --

Best -- at Setting -- as is Nature’s --

Neither witnessed Rise

Till the infinite Aurora

In the other’s eyes.




Patience -- has a quiet Outer --

Patience -- Look within --

Is an Insect’s futile forces

Infinites -- between --

‘Scaping one -- against the other

Fruitlesser to fling --

Patience -- is the Smile’s exertion

Through the quivering --




Absent Place -- an April Day --

Daffodils a-blow

Homesick curiosity

To the Souls that snow --

Drift may block within it

Deeper than without --

Daffodil delight but

Him it duplicate --




The Heart has narrow Banks

It measures like the Sea

In mighty -- unremitting Bass

And Blue Monotony

Till Hurricane bisect

And as itself discerns

Its insufficient Area

The Heart convulsive learns

That Calm is but a Wall

Of unattempted Gauze

An instant’s Push demolishes

A Questioning -- dissolves.




How far is it to Heaven?

As far as Death this way --

Of River or of Ridge beyond

Was no discovery.

How far is it to Hell?

As far as Death this way --

How far left hand the Sepulchre

Defies Topography.




There is a June when Corn is cut

And Roses in the Seed --

A Summer briefer than the first

But tenderer indeed

As should a Face supposed the Grave’s

Emerge a single Noon

In the Vermilion that it wore

Affect us, and return --

Two Seasons, it is said, exist --

The Summer of the Just,

And this of Ours, diversified

With Prospect, and with Frost --

May not our Second with its First

So infinite compare

That We but recollect the one

The other to prefer?




Noon -- is the Hinge of Day --

Evening -- the Tissue Door --

Morning -- the East compelling the sill

Till all the World is ajar --




My best Acquaintances are those

With Whom I spoke no Word --

The Stars that stated come to Town

Esteemed Me never rude

Although to their Celestial Call

I failed to make reply --

My constant -- reverential Face

Sufficient Courtesy.




Two Travellers perishing in Snow

The Forests as they froze

Together heard them strengthening

Each other with the words

That Heaven if Heaven -- must contain

What Either left behind

And then the cheer too solemn grew

For language, and the wind

Long steps across the features took

That Love had touched the Morn

With reverential Hyacinth --

The taleless Days went on

Till Mystery impatient drew

And those They left behind

Led absent, were procured of Heaven

As Those first furnished, said --




That is solemn we have ended

Be it but a Play

Or a Glee among the Garret

Or a Holiday

Or a leaving Home, or later,

Parting with a World

We have understood for better

Still to be explained.




Death leaves Us homesick, who behind,

Except that it is gone

Are ignorant of its Concern

As if it were not born.

Through all their former Places, we

Like Individuals go

Who something lost, the seeking for

Is all that’s left them, now --




This Dust, and its Feature --

Accredited -- Today --

Will in a second Future --

Cease to identify --

This Mind, and its measure --

A too minute Area

For its enlarged inspection’s

Comparison -- appear --

This World, and its species

A too concluded show

For its absorbed Attention’s

Remotest scrutiny --




I felt a Cleaving in my Mind --

As if my Brain had split --

I tried to match it -- Seam by Seam --

But could not make it fit.

The thought behind, I strove to join

Unto the thought before --

But Sequence ravelled out of Sound

Like Balls -- upon a Floor.




Fairer through Fading -- as the Day

Into the Darkness dips away --

Half Her Complexion of the Sun --

Hindering -- Haunting -- Perishing --

Rallies Her Glow, like a dying Friend --

Teasing with glittering Amend --

Only to aggravate the Dark

Through an expiring -- perfect -- look --




What I see not, I better see --

Through Faith -- my Hazel Eye

Has periods of shutting --

But, No lid has Memory --

For frequent, all my sense obscured

I equally behold

As someone held a light unto

The Features so beloved ---

And I arise -- and in my Dream --

Do Thee distinguished Grace --

Till jealous Daylight interrupt --

And mar thy perfectness --




On that dear Frame the Years had worn

Yet precious as the House

In which We first experienced Light

The Witnessing, to Us --

Precious! It was conceiveless fair

As Hands the Grave had grimed

Should softly place within our own

Denying that they died.




The Lady feeds Her little Bird

At rarer intervals --

The little Bird would not dissent

But meekly recognize

The Gulf between the Hand and Her

And crumbless and afar

And fainting, on Her yellow Knee

Fall softly, and adore --




Snow beneath whose chilly softness

Some that never lay

Make their first Repose this Winter

I admonish Thee

Blanket Wealthier the Neighbor

We so new bestow

Than thine acclimated Creature

Wilt Thou, Austere Snow?




A Coffin -- is a small Domain,

Yet able to contain

A Citizen of Paradise

In it diminished Plane.

A Grave -- is a restricted Breadth --

Yet ampler than the Sun --

And all the Seas He populates

And Lands He looks upon

To Him who on its small Repose

Bestows a single Friend --

Circumference without Relief --

Or Estimate -- or End --




I learned -- at least -- what Home could be --

How ignorant I had been

Of pretty ways of Covenant --

How awkward at the Hymn

Round our new Fireside -- but for this --

This pattern -- of the Way --

Whose Memory drowns me, like the Dip

Of a Celestial Sea --

What Mornings in our Garden -- guessed --

What Bees -- for us -- to hum --

With only Birds to interrupt

The Ripple of our Theme --

And Task for Both --

When Play be done --

Your Problem -- of the Brain --

And mine -- some foolisher effect --

A Ruffle -- or a Tune --

The Afternoons -- Together spent --

And Twilight -- in the Lanes --

Some ministry to poorer lives --

Seen poorest -- thro’ our gains --

And then Return -- and Night -- and Home --

And then away to You to pass --

A new -- diviner -- care --

Till Sunrise take us back to Scene --

Transmuted -- Vivider --

This seems a Home --

And Home is not --

But what that Place could be --

Afflicts me -- as a Setting Sun --

Where Dawn -- knows how to be --




This is a Blossom of the Brain --

A small -- italic Seed

Lodged by Design or Happening

The Spirit fructified --

Shy as the Wind of his Chambers

Swift as a Freshet’s Tongue

So of the Flower of the Soul

Its process is unknown.

When it is found, a few rejoice

The Wise convey it Home

Carefully cherishing the spot

If other Flower become.

When it is lost, that Day shall be

The Funeral of God,

Upon his Breast, a closing Soul

The Flower of our Lord.




It is an honorable Thought

And make One lift One’s Hat

As One met sudden Gentlefolk

Upon a daily Street

That We’ve immortal Place

Though Pyramids decay

And Kingdoms, like the Orchard

Flit Russetly away




Of Tolling Bell I ask the cause?

"A Soul has gone to Heaven"

I’m answered in a lonesome tone --

Is Heaven then a Prison?

That Bells should ring till all should know

A Soul had gone to Heaven

Would seem to me the more the way

A Good News should be given.




‘Twas Crisis -- All the length had passed --

That dull -- benumbing time

There is in Fever or Event --

And now the Chance had come --

The instant holding in its claw

The privilege to live

Or warrant to report the Soul

The other side the Grave.

The Muscles grappled as with leads

That would not let the Will --

The Spirit shook the Adamant --

But could not make it feel.

The Second poised -- debated -- shot --

Another had begun --

And simultaneously, a Soul

Escaped the House unseen --




Under the Light, yet under,

Under the Grass and the Dirt,

Under the Beetle’s Cellar

Under the Clover’s Root,

Further than Arm could stretch

Were it Giant long,

Further than Sunshine could

Were the Day Year long,

Over the Light, yet over,

Over the Arc of the Bird --

Over the Comet’s chimney --

Over the Cubit’s Head,

Further than Guess can gallop

Further than Riddle ride --

Oh for a Disc to the Distance

Between Ourselves and the Dead!




The Sunset stopped on Cottages

Where Sunset hence must be

For treason not of His, but Life’s,

Gone Westerly, Today --

The Sunset stopped on Cottages

Where Morning just begun --

What difference, after all, Thou mak’st

Thou supercilious Sun?




As Frost is best conceived

By force of its Result --

Affliction is inferred

By subsequent effect --

If when the sun reveal,

The Garden keep the Gash --

If as the Days resume

The wilted countenance

Cannot correct the crease

Or counteract the stain --

Presumption is Vitality

Was somewhere put in twain.




A Man may make a Remark --

In itself -- a quiet thing

That may furnish the Fuse unto a Spark

In dormant nature -- lain --

Let us deport -- with skill --

Let us discourse -- with care --

Powder exists in Charcoal --

Before it exists in Fire.




A Door just opened on a street --

I -- lost -- was passing by --

An instant’s Width of Warmth disclosed --

And Wealth -- and Company.

The Door as instant shut -- And I --

I -- lost -- was passing by --

Lost doubly -- but by contrast -- most --

Informing -- misery --




The Chemical conviction

That Nought be lost

Enable in Disaster

My fractured Trust --

The Faces of the Atoms

If I shall see

How more the Finished Creatures

Departed me!




The Hollows round His eager Eyes

Were Pages where to read

Pathetic Histories -- although

Himself had not complained.

Biography to All who passed

Of Unobtrusive Pain

Except for the italic Face

Endured, unhelped -- unknown.




What shall I do when the Summer troubles --

What, when the Rose is ripe --

What when the Eggs fly off in Music

From the Maple Keep?

What shall I do when the Skies a’chirrup

Drop a Tune on me --

When the Bee hangs all Noon in the Buttercup

What will become of me?

Oh, when the Squirrel fills His Pockets

And the Berries stare

How can I bear their jocund Faces

Thou from Here, so far?

‘Twouldn’t afflict a Robin --

All His Goods have Wings --

I -- do not fly, so wherefore

My Perennial Things?




As One does Sickness over

In convalescent Mind,

His scrutiny of Chances

By blessed Health obscured --

As One rewalks a Precipice

And whittles at the Twig

That held Him from Perdition

Sown sidewise in the Crag

A Custom of the Soul

Far after suffering

Identity to question

For evidence’t has been --




we met as Sparks -- Diverging Flints

Sent various -- scattered ways --

We parted as the Central Flint

Were cloven with an Adze --

Subsisting on the Light We bore

Before We felt the Dark --

A Flint unto this Day -- perhaps --

But for that single Spark.




A loss of something ever felt I --

The first that I could recollect

Bereft I was -- of what I knew not

Too young that any should suspect

A Mourner walked among the children

I notwithstanding went about

As one bemoaning a Dominion

Itself the only Prince cast out --

Elder, Today, a session wiser

And fainter, too, as Wiseness is --

I find myself still softly searching

For my Delinguent Palaces --

And a Suspicion, like a Finger

Touches my Forehead now and then

That I am looking oppositely

For the site of the Kingdom of Heaven --




As plan for Noon and plan for Night

So differ Life and Death

In positive Prospective --

The Foot upon the Earth

At Distance, and Achievement, strains,

The Foot upon the Grave

Makes effort at conclusion

Assisted faint of Love.




Wert Thou but ill -- that I might show thee

How long a Day I could endure

Though thine attention stop not on me

Nor the least signal, Me assure --

Wert Thou but Stranger in ungracious country --

And Mine -- the Door

Thou paused at, for a passing bounty --

No More --

Accused -- wert Thou -- and Myself -- Tribunal --

Convicted -- Sentenced -- Ermine -- not to Me

Half the Condition, thy Reverse -- to follow --

Just to partake -- the infamy --

The Tenant of the Narrow Cottage, wert Thou --

Permit to be

The Housewife in thy low attendance

Contenteth Me --

No Service hast Thou, I would not achieve it --

To die -- or live --

The first -- Sweet, proved I, ere I saw thee --

For Life -- be Love --




Midsummer, was it, when They died --

A full, and perfect time --

The Summer closed upon itself

In Consummated Bloom --

The Corn, her furthest kernel filled

Before the coming Flail --

When These -- leaned unto Perfectness --

Through Haze of Burial --




A nearness to Tremendousness --

An Agony procures --

Affliction ranges Boundlessness --

Vicinity to Laws

Contentment’s quiet Suburb --

Affliction cannot stay

In Acres -- Its Location

Is Illocality --




"Unto Me?" I do not know you --

Where may be your House?

"I am Jesus -- Late of Judea --

Now -- of Paradise" --

Wagons -- have you -- to convey me?

This is far from Thence --

"Arms of Mine -- sufficient Phaeton --

Trust Omnipotence" --

I am spotted -- "I am Pardon" --

I am small -- "The Least

Is esteemed in Heaven the Chiefest --

Occupy my House" --




Denial -- is the only fact

Perceived by the Denied --

Whose Will -- a numb significance --

The Day the Heaven died --

And all the Earth strove common round --

Without Delight, or Beam --

What Comfort was it Wisdom -- was --

The spoiler of Our Home?




All forgot for recollecting

Just a paltry One --

All forsook, for just a Stranger’s

New Accompanying --

Grace of Wealth, and Grace of Station

Less accounted than

An unknown Esteem possessing --

Estimate -- Who can --

Home effaced -- Her faces dwindled --

Nature -- altered small --

Sun -- if shone -- or Storm -- if shattered --

Overlooked I all --

Dropped -- my fate -- a timid Pebble --

In thy bolder Sea --

Prove -- me -- Sweet -- if I regret it --

Prove Myself -- of Thee --




Pain -- expands the Time --

Ages coil within

The minute Circumference

Of a single Brain --

Pain contracts -- the Time --

Occupied with Shot

Gamuts of Eternities

Are as they were not --




Fitter to see Him, I may be

For the long Hindrance -- Grace -- to Me --

With Summers, and with Winters, grow,

Some passing Year -- A trait bestow

To make Me fairest of the Earth --

The Waiting -- then -- will seem so worth

I shall impute with half a pain

The blame that I was chosen -- then --

Time to anticipate His Gaze --

It’s first -- Delight -- and then -- Surprise --

The turning o’er and o’er my face

For Evidence it be the Grace --

He left behind One Day -- So less

He seek Conviction, That -- be This --

I only must not grow so new

That He’ll mistake -- and ask for me

Of me -- when first unto the Door

I go -- to Elsewhere go no more --

I only must not change so fair

He’ll sigh -- "The Other -- She -- is Where?"

The Love, tho’, will array me right

I shall be perfect -- in His sight --

If He perceive the other Truth --

Upon an Excellenter Youth --

How sweet I shall not lack in Vain --

But gain -- thro’ loss -- Through Grief -- obtain --

The Beauty that reward Him best --

The Beauty of Demand -- at Rest --




He who in Himself believes --

Fraud cannot presume --

Faith is Constancy’s Result --

And assumes -- from Home --

Cannot perish, though it fail

Every second time --

But defaced Vicariously --

For Some Other Shame --




Color -- Caste -- Denomination --

These -- are Time’s Affair --

Death’s diviner Classifying

Does not know they are --

As in sleep -- All Hue forgotten --

Tenets -- put behind --

Death’s large -- Democratic fingers

Rub away the Brand --

If Circassian -- He is careless --

If He put away

Chrysalis of Blonde -- or Umber --

Equal Butterfly --

They emerge from His Obscuring --

What Death -- knows so well --

Our minuter intuitions --

Deem unplausible --




Robbed by Death -- but that was easy --

To the failing Eye

I could hold the latest Glowing --

Robbed by Liberty

For Her Jugular Defences --

This, too, I endured --

Hint of Glory -- it afforded --

For the Brave Beloved --

Fraud of Distance -- Fraud of Danger,

Fraud of Death -- to bear --

It is Bounty -- to Suspense’s

Vague Calamity --

Stalking our entire Possession

On a Hair’s result --

Then -- seesawing -- coolly -- on it --

Trying if it split --




Unfulfilled to Observation --

Incomplete -- to Eye --

But to Faith -- a Revolution

In Locality --

Unto Us -- the Suns extinguish --

To our Opposite --

New Horizons -- they embellish --

Fronting Us -- with Night.




‘Twas awkward, but it fitted me --

An Ancient fashioned Heart --

Its only lore -- its Steadfastness --

In Change -- unerudite --

It only moved as do the Suns --

For merit of Return --

Or Birds -- confirmed perpetual

By Alternating Zone --

I only have it not Tonight

In its established place --

For technicality of Death --

Omitted in the Lease --




The Soul’s distinct connection

With immortality

Is best disclosed by Danger

Or quick Calamity --

As Lightning on a Landscape

Exhibits Sheets of Place --

Not yet suspected -- but for Flash --

And Click -- and Suddenness.




The Mountain sat upon the Plain

In his tremendous Chair --

His observation omnifold,

His inquest, everywhere --

The Seasons played around his knees

Like Children round a sire --

Grandfather of the Days is He

Of Dawn, the Ancestor --




Death is a Dialogue between

The Spirit and the Dust.

"Dissolve" says Death -- The Spirit "Sir

I have another Trust" --

Death doubts it -- Argues from the Ground --

The Spirit turns away

Just laying off for evidence

An Overcoat of Clay.




Besides this May

We know

There is Another --

How fair

Our Speculations of the Foreigner!

Some know Him whom We knew --

Sweet Wonder --

A Nature be

Where Saints, and our plain going Neighbor

Keep May!




It bloomed and dropt, a Single Noon --

The Flower -- distinct and Red --

I, passing, thought another Noon

Another in its stead

Will equal glow, and thought no More

But came another Day

To find the Species disappeared --

The Same Locality --

The Sun in place -- no other fraud

On Nature’s perfect Sum --

Had I but lingered Yesterday --

Was my retrieveless blame --

Much Flowers of this and further Zones

Have perished in my Hands

For seeking its Resemblance --

But unapproached it stands --

The single Flower of the Earth

That I, in passing by

Unconscious was -- Great Nature’s Face

Passed infinite by Me --




This Merit hath the worst --

It cannot be again --

When Fate hath taunted last

And thrown Her furthest Stone --

The Maimed may pause, and breathe,

And glance securely round --

The Deer attracts no further

Than it resists -- the Hound --




Purple -- is fashionable twice --

This season of the year,

And when a soul perceives itself

To be an Emperor.




As Sleigh Bells seem in summer

Or Bees, at Christmas show --

So fairy -- so fictitious

The individuals do

Repealed from observation --

A Party that we knew --

More distant in an instant

Than Dawn in Timbuctoo.




No Other can reduce

Our mortal Consequence

Like the remembering it be nought

A Period from hence

But Contemplation for

Contemporaneous Nought

Our Single Competition

Jehovah’s Estimate.




Ideals are the Fairly Oil

With which we help the Wheel

But when the Vital Axle turns

The Eye rejects the Oil.




‘Tis Anguish grander than Delight

‘Tis Resurrection Pain --

The meeting Bands of smitten Face

We questioned to, again.

‘Tis Transport wild as thrills the Graves

When Cerements let go

And Creatures clad in Miracle

Go up by Two and Two.




The Missing All -- prevented Me

From missing minor Things.

If nothing larger than a World’s

Departure from a Hinge --

Or Sun’s extinction, be observed --

‘Twas not so large that I

Could lift my Forehead from my work

For Curiosity.




A narrow Fellow in the Grass

Occasionally rides --

You may have met Him -- did you not

His notice sudden is --

The Grass divides as with a Comb --

A spotted shaft is seen --

And then it closes at your feet

And opens further on --

He likes a Boggy Acre

A Floor too cool for Corn --

Yet when a Boy, and Barefoot --

I more than once at Noon

Have passed, I thought, a Whip lash

Unbraiding in the Sun

When stooping to secure it

It wrinkled, and was gone --

Several of Nature’s People

I know, and they know me --

I feel for them a transport

Of cordiality --

But never met this Fellow

Attended, or alone

Without a tighter breathing

And Zero at the Bone --




The Leaves like Women interchange

Exclusive Confidence --

Somewhat of nods and somewhat

Portentous inference.

The Parties in both cases

Enjoining secrecy --

Inviolable compact

To notoriety.




The Definition of Beauty is

That Definition is none --

Of Heaven, easing Analysis,

Since Heaven and He are one.




Gratitude -- is not the mention

Of a Tenderness,

But its still appreciation

Out of Plumb of Speech.

When the Sea return no Answer

By the Line and Lead

Proves it there’s no Sea, or rather

A remoter Bed?




Not all die early, dying young --

Maturity of Fate

Is consummated equally

In Ages, or a Night --

A Hoary Boy, I’ve known to drop

Whole statured -- by the side

Of Junior of Fourscore -- ‘twas Act

Not Period -- that died.




She sped as Petals of a Rose

Offended by the Wind --

A frail Aristocrat of Time

Indemnity to find --

Leaving on nature -- a Default

As Cricket or as Bee --

But Andes in the Bosoms where

She had begun to lie --




The Dust behind I strove to join

Unto the Disk before --

But Sequence ravelled out of Sound

Like Balls upon a Floor --




We miss Her, not because We see --

The Absence of an Eye --

Except its Mind accompany

Abridge Society

As slightly as the Routes of Stars --

Ourselves -- asleep below --

We know that their superior Eyes

Include Us -- as they go --




Partake as doth the Bee,


The Rose is an Estate --

In Sicily.




This was in the White of the Year --

That -- was in the Green --

Drifts were as difficult then to think

As Daisies now to be seen --

Looking back is best that is left

Or if it be -- before --

Retrospection is Prospect’s half,

Sometimes, almost more.




We’ll pass without the parting

So to spare

Certificate of Absence --

Deeming where

I left Her I could find Her

If I tried --

This way, I keep from missing

Those that died.




Crumbling is not an instant’s Act

A fundamental pause

Dilapidation’s processes

Are organized Decays.

‘Tis first a Cobweb on the Soul

A Cuticle of Dust

A Borer in the Axis

An Elemental Rust --

Ruin is formal -- Devil’s work

Consecutive and slow --

Fail in an instant, no man did

Slipping -- is Crash’s law.




Best Things dwell out of Sight

The Pearl -- the Just -- Our Thought.

Most shun the Public Air

Legitimate, and Rare --

The Capsule of the Wind

The Capsule of the Mind

Exhibit here, as doth a Burr --

Germ’s Germ be where?




Superfluous were the Sun

When Excellence be dead

He were superfluous every Day

For every Day be said

That syllable whose Faith

Just saves it from Despair

And whose "I’ll meet You" hesitates

If Love inquire "Where"?

Upon His dateless Fame

Our Periods may lie

As Stars that drop anonymous

From an abundant sky.




The Fingers of the Light

Tapped soft upon the Town

With "I am great and cannot wait

So therefore let me in."

"You’re soon," the Town replied,

"My Faces are asleep --

But swear, and I will let you by,

You will not wake them up."

The easy Guest complied

But once within the Town

The transport of His Countenance

Awakened Maid and Man

The Neighbor in the Pool

Upon His Hip elate

Made loud obeisance and the Gnat

Held up His Cup for Light.


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