“There is a Thorn — it looks so old,
In truth, you’ d find it hard to say
How it could ever have been young,
It looks so old and grey.
Not higher than a two years' child
It stands erect, this aged Thorn;
No leaves it has, no prickly points;
It is a mass of knotted joints,
A wretched thing forlorn.
It stands erect, and like a stone
With lichens is it overgrown.
Disappointment & Failure
But my bereavement-pain
It cannot bring again:
Twice no one dies.
But, since it once hath been,
No more that severing scene
Can harrow me.
Birds faint in dread:
I shall not lose old strength
In the lone frost's black length:
Strength long since fled!
I heard a small sad sound,
And stood awhile among the tombs around:
"Wherefore, old friends," said I, "are you distrest,
Now, screened from life's unrest?"
"O not at being here;
But that our future second death is near;
When, with the living, memory of us numbs,
And blank oblivion comes!
Since the stern art of poetry calls for words, I, morose,
deaf, and balding ambassador of a more or less
insignificant nation that’ s stuck in this super
power, wishing to spare my old brain,
hand myself my own topcoat and head for the main
street: to purchase the evening paper.
O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas'd eyes, embower'd from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the "Amen," ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,
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!
Good-bye, proud world! I'm going home:
Thou art not my friend, and I'm not thine.
Long through thy weary crowds I roam;
A river-ark on the ocean brine,
Long I've been tossed like the driven foam;
But now, proud world! I'm going home.
My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
Mary sat musing on the lamp-flame at the table
Waiting for Warren. When she heard his step,
She ran on tip-toe down the darkened passage
To meet him in the doorway with the news
And put him on his guard. ‘Silas is back.’
She pushed him outward with her through the door
And shut it after her. ‘Be kind,’ she said.
She took the market things from Warren’ s arms
And set them on the porch, then drew him down
To sit beside her on the wooden steps.
Out walking in the frozen swamp one gray day,
I paused and said, 'I will turn back from here.
No, I will go on farther — and we shall see.'
The hard snow held me, save where now and then
One foot went through. The view was all in lines
Straight up and down of tall slim trees
Too much alike to mark or name a place by
So as to say for certain I was here
Or somewhere else: I was just far from home.
A small bird flew before me. He was careful
To put a tree between us when he lighted,
And say no word to tell me who he was