Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean.
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes.
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.
Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld.
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.
Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.
Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more.
Weep with me, all you that read
This little story;
And know, for whom a tear you shed
Death’s self is sorry.
‘Twas a child that so did thrive
In grace and feature.
As Heaven and Nature seem’d to strive
Which own’d the creature.
Years he number’d scarce thirteen
When Fates turn’d cruel,
Yet three fill’d zodiacs had he been
The stage’s jewel;
And did act (what now we moan)
Old men so duly,
As sooth the Parcac thought him one,
He play’d so truly.
So, by error, to his fate
They all consented;
But, viewing him since, alas, too late!
They have repented;
And have sought, to give new birth.
In baths to steep him;
But, being so much too good for earth,
Heaven vows to keep him.
You handed me the makings of a miracle
it smelled of old money, mingled with tacky sweat:
of immigrant labour.
You awaited my gasp of awe,
with the silence of boxing day
that absence of noise
when you put aside the presents
and listen to love sprinkling beneath the
rustle of wrapping paper.
My smile was a child’s innocence that never leaves the room,
That patient siege of faultless patience;
You knew I’d been waiting, I’d been a good boy.
You knew my every appreciative word would be
lathered by mirth
and haloed by honey accents
You knew that the miracle you handed me wasn’t love;
the miracle was a burning bush—
a means to receive reverence,
a heart to be loved.
I give you half of me;
No more, lest I should make
a ground for perjury,
for your sake, for my sake,
half will you take?
Half I’ll not take nor give
for he who gives gives all,
by halves you cannot live;
then let the barrier fall,
in one circle have all.
A wise and ancient scorner
said to me once; Beware
the road that has no corner
where you can linger and stare,
choose the square.
And let the circle run
its dull and fevered race.
You, my dear, are one;
Show your soul in your face;
Maintain your place.
Give, but have something to give.
No man can want you all.
Live, and learn to live
when all the barriers fall
you’re nothing at all.