Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul And sings the tune without the words And never stops at all.
We never know how high we are till we are called to rise. Then if we are true to form our statures touch the skies.
A charm invests a faceImperfectly beheld,—The lady dare not lift her veilFor fear it be dispelled.But peers beyond her mesh,And wishes, and denies,—Lest interview annul a wantThat image satisfies.
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,One clover, and a bee,And revery.The revery alone will do,If bees are few.
Hope is the thing with feathersThat 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 stormThat could abash the little birdThat kept so many warm.I've heard it in the chilliest landAnd on the strangest sea;Yet, never, in extremity,It asked a crumb of me.
She died--this was the way she died;And when her breath was done,Took up her simple wardrobeAnd started for the sun.Her little figure at the gateThe angels must have spied,Since I could never find herUpon the mortal side.
I wonder if it hurts to live,And if they have to try,And whether, could they choose between,They would not rather die.
My life closed twice before its close; It yet remains to seeIf Immortality unveil A third event to me,So huge, so hopeless to conceive, As these that twice befell.Parting is all we know of heaven, And all we need of hell.
The bustle in a houseThe morning after deathIs solemnest of industriesEnacted upon earth,--The sweeping up the heart,And putting love awayWe shall not want to use againUntil eternity
Because I could not stop for Death,He kindly stopped for me;The carriage held but just ourselvesAnd Immortality.We slowly drove, he knew no haste,And I had put awayMy labour, and my leisure too,For his civility.We passed the school where children played,Their lessons scarcely done;We passed the fields of gazing grain,We passed the setting sun.We paused before a house that seemedA swelling of the ground;The roof was scarcely visible,The cornice but a mound.Since then 'tis centuries; but eachFeels shorter than the dayI first surmised the horses' headsWere toward eternity.
There is a pain – so utter – It swallows substance up – Then covers the Abyss with Trance – So Memory can step Around – across – opon it – As one within a Swoon – Goes safely – where an open eye – Would drop Him – Bone by Bone.
If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?
I'm nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody, too? Then there ’s a pair of us—don’t tell! They ’d banish us, you know. How dreary to be somebody! How public, like a frog To tell your name the livelong day To an admiring bog!
How happy is the little stoneThat rambles in the road alone,And doesn't care about careers,And exigencies never fears;Whose coat of elemental brownA passing universe put on;And independent as the sun,Associates or glows alone,Fulfilling absolute decreeIn casual simplicity.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands awayNor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – This Traverse may the poorest takeWithout oppress of Toll – How frugal is the Chariot That bears a Human soul.
PHOSPHORESCENCE. Now there's a word to lift your hat to... to find that phosphorescence, that light within, that's the genius behind poetry.
I measure every Grief I meetWith 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 LightThat has so little Oil. I wonder if when Years have piled,Some Thousands -- on the Harm Of early hurt -- if such a lapseCould give them any Balm; Or would they go on aching stillThrough Centuries above,Enlightened to a larger PainBy Contrast with the Love. The Grieved are many, I am told;The reason deeper lies, --Death is but oneand 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 kindCorrectly, yet to meA piercing Comfort it affordsIn passing Calvary, To note the fashions of the Cross,And how they're mostly worn,Still fascinated to presumeThat Some are like My Own.
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.He danced along the dingy days,And this bequest of wingsWas but a book. What libertyA loosened spirit brings!
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.
Wild Nights – Wild Nights!Were I with theeWild Nights should beOur luxury!Futile – the winds –To a heart in port –Done with the compass –Done with the chart!Rowing in Eden –Ah, the sea!Might I moor – Tonight –In thee!
Inebriate of Air — am I —And Debauchee of Dew —Reeling — thro endless summer days —From Inns of Molten Blue —
One need not be a Chamber — to be Haunted — One need not be a House — The Brain has Corridors — surpassing Material Place —
It was not death, for I stood up,And all the dead lie down;It was not night, for all the bellsPut out their tongues, for noon.It was not frost, for on my fleshI felt siroccos crawl,Nor fire, for just my marble feetCould keep a chancel cool.And yet it tasted like them all;The figures I have seenSet orderly, for burial,Reminded me of mine,As if my life were shavenAnd fitted to a frame,And could not breathe without a key;And I was 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 chance or spar,--Or even a report of landTo justify despair.
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 Regardless grown, 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 –
A precious, mouldering pleasure ’t is To meet an antique book, In just the dress his century wore; A privilege, I think.
I had been hungry all the years-My noon had come, to dine-I, trembling, drew the table nearAnd touched the curious wine. 'Twas this on tables I had seenWhen turning, hungry, lone,I looked in windows, for the wealthI could not hope to own. I did not know the ample bread,'Twas so unlike the crumbThe birds and I had often sharedIn Nature's diningroom. The plenty hurt me, 'twas so new,--Myself felt ill and odd,As berry of a mountain bushTransplanted to the road. Nor was I hungry; so I foundThat hunger was a wayOf persons outside windows,The entering takes away.
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 kneelingUpon her Mat—I've known her—from an ample nation—Choose One—Then—close the Valves of her attention—Like Stone—
I stepped from Plank to PlankSo slow and cautiouslyThe Stars about my Head I felt,About my Feet the Sea.I knew not but the nextWould be my final inch —This gave me that precarious GaitSome call Experience.
This is the Hour of Lead – Remembered, if outlived, As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow – First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –
Mine Enemy is growing old --I have at last Revenge --The Palate of the Hate departs --If any would avenge Let him be quick -- the Viand flits --It is a faded Meat --Anger as soon as fed is dead --'Tis starving makes it fat
I held a jewel in my fingers And went to sleep. The day was warm, and winds were prosy; I said: 'T will keep.I woke and chid my honest fingers,—The gem was gone; And now an amethyst remembrance Is all I own.