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I taste a liquor never brewed

I taste a liquor never brewed –

From Tankards scooped in Pearl –

Not all the Frankfort Berries

Yield such an Alcohol!

Inebriate of air – am I –

And Debauchee of Dew –

Reeling – thro' endless summer days –

From inns of molten Blue –

When "Landlords" turn the drunken Bee

Out of the Foxglove's door –

When Butterflies – renounce their "drams" –

I shall but drink the more!

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats –

And Saints – to windows run –

To see the little Tippler

Leaning against the – Sun!

Pain — has an Element of Blank.

Pain — has an Element of Blank —

It cannot recollect

When it begun — or if there were

A time when it was not —

It has no Future — but itself —

Its Infinite realms contain

Its Past — enlightened to perceive

New Periods — of Pain.

The soul selects her own society,

The soul selects her own society,

Then shuts the door;

On her divine majority

Obtrude no more.

Unmoved, she notes the chariot’s pausing

At her low gate;

Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling

Upon her mat.

I’ve known her from an ample nation

Choose one;

Then close the valves of her attention

Like stone.

There is no frigate like a book

There is no Frigate like a Book

To take us Lands away,

Nor any Coursers like a Page

Of prancing Poetry –

This Traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of Toll –

How frugal is the Chariot

That bears a Human soul.

My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun

My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun -

In Corners - till a Day

The Owner passed - identified -

And carried Me away -

And now We roam in Sovreign Woods -

And now We hunt the Doe -

And every time I speak for Him

The Mountains straight reply -

And do I smile, such cordial light

Upon the Valley glow -

It is as a Vesuvian face

Had let it’s pleasure through -

And when at Night - Our good Day done -

I guard My Master’s Head -

’Tis better than the Eider Duck’s

Deep Pillow - to have shared -

To foe of His - I’m deadly foe -

None stir the second time -

On whom I lay a Yellow Eye -

Or an emphatic Thumb –

Though I than He - may longer live

He longer must - than I -

For I have but the power to kill,

Without - the power to die -

After great pain, a formal feeling comes

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 –

A Wooden way

Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –

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 –

These are the days when birds come back

THESE are the days when birds come back,

A very few, a bird or two,

To take a backward look.

These are the days when skies put on

The old, old sophistries of June,--

A blue and gold mistake.

Oh, fraud that cannot cheat the bee,

Almost thy plausibility

Induces my belief,

Till ranks of seeds their witness bear,

And softly through the altered air

Hurries a timid leaf!

Oh, sacrament of summer days,

Oh, last communion in the haze,

Permit a child to join,

Thy sacred emblems to partake,

Thy consecrated bread to break,

Taste thine immortal wine!

I stepped from plank to plank

I stepped from plank to plank

So slow and cautiously;

The stars about my head I felt,

About my feet the sea.

I knew not but the next

Would be my final inch,—

This gave me that precarious gait

Some call experience.

My life closed twice before its close

My life closed twice before its close—

It yet remains to see

If 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.

How happy is the little stone

How happy is the little Stone

That rambles in the Road alone,

And doesn't care about Careers

And Exigencies never fears -

Whose Coat of elemental Brown

A passing Universe put on,

And independent as the Sun

Associates or glows alone,

Fulfilling absolute Decree

In casual simplicity -

There Is Another Sky

There is another sky,

Ever serene and fair,

And there is another sunshine,

Though it be darkness there;

Never mind faded forests, Austin,

Never mind silent fields -

Here is a little forest,

Whose leaf is ever green;

Here is a brighter garden,

Where not a frost has been;

In its unfading flowers

I hear the bright bee hum:

Prithee, my brother,

Into my garden come!

I felt a funeral in my brain

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,

And Mourners to and fro

Kept treading – treading – till it seemed

That Sense was breaking through –

And when they all were seated,

A Service, like a Drum –

Kept beating – beating – till I thought

My Mind was going numb –

And then I heard them lift a Box

And creak across my Soul

With those same Boots of Lead, again,

Then Space – began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,

And Being, but an Ear,

And I, and Silence, some strange Race

Wrecked, solitary, here –

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,

And I dropped down, and down –

And hit a World, at every plunge,

And Finished knowing – then –

Down Time's quaint stream

Down Time's quaint stream

Without an oar

We are enforced to sail

Our Port a secret

Our Perchance a Gale

What Skipper would

Incur the Risk

What Buccaneer would ride

Without a surety from the Wind

Or schedule of the Tide -

I should not dare to leave my friend

I should not dare to leave my friend,

Because—because if he should die

While I was gone—and I—too late—

Should reach the Heart that wanted me—

If I should disappoint the eyes

That hunted—hunted so—to see—

And could not bear to shut until

They "noticed" me—they noticed me—

If I should stab the patient faith

So sure I'd come—so sure I'd come—

It listening—listening—went to sleep—

Telling my tardy name—

My Heart would wish it broke before—

Since breaking then—since breaking then—

Were useless as next morning's sun—

Where midnight frosts—had lain!

If I can stop one heart from breaking

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.

I dwell in Possiblility

I dwell in Possibility –

A fairer House than Prose –

More numerous of Windows –

Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –

Impregnable of eye –

And for an everlasting Roof

The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –

For Occupation – This –

The spreading wide my narrow Hands

To gather Paradise –

Hope is the thing with feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers -

That 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 storm -

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -

And on the strangest Sea -

Yet - never - in Extremity,

It asked a crumb - of me.

A Bird, came down the Walk

A Bird, came down the Walk -

He did not know I saw -

He bit an Angle Worm in halves

And ate the fellow, raw,

And then, he drank a Dew

From a convenient Grass -

And then hopped sidewise to the Wall

To let a Beetle pass -

He glanced with rapid eyes,

That hurried all abroad -

They looked like frightened Beads, I thought,

He stirred his Velvet Head. -

Like one in danger, Cautious,

I offered him a Crumb,

And he unrolled his feathers,

And rowed him softer Home -

Than Oars divide the Ocean,

Too silver for a seam,

Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,

Leap, plashless as they swim.

Ample make this bed

Ample make this bed.
Make this bed with awe;
In it wait till judgment break
Excellent and fair.

Be its mattress straight,
Be its pillow round;
Let no sunrise' yellow noise
Interrupt this ground

Safe in their alabaster chambers

Safe in their alabaster chambers,
Untouched by morning and untouched by noon,
Sleep the meek members of the resurrection,
Rafter of satin, and roof of stone.

Light laughs the breeze in her castle of sunshine ;
Babbles the bee in a stolid ear ;
Pipe the sweet birds in ignorant cadence,—
Ah, what sagacity perished here !

Grand go the years in the crescent above them ;
Worlds scoop their arcs, and firmaments row,
Diadems drop and Doges surrender,
Soundless as dots on a disk of snow.

Wild Nights—Wild Nights!

Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our 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!

I died for Beauty

I died for beauty, but was scarce

Adjusted in the tomb,

When one who died for truth was lain

In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?

“For beauty,” I replied.

“And I for truth,—the two are one;

We brethren are,” he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a night,

We talked between the rooms,

Until the moss had reached our lips,

And covered up our names.

Apparently with no surprise

Apparently with no surprise

To any happy flower,

The frost beheads it at its play

In accidental power.

The blond assassin passes on,

The sun proceeds unmoved

To measure off another day

For an approving God.

It was not Death, for I stood up

It was not Death, for I stood up

And all the Dead, lie down—

It was not Night, for all the Bells

Put out their Tongues, for Noon

It was not Frost, for on my Flesh

I felt Sirocos—crawl—

Nor Fire—for just my Marble feet

Could keep a Chancel, cool—

And yet, it tasted, like them all

The Figures I have seen

Set orderly, for Burial

Reminded me, of mine—

As if my life were shaven

And fitted to a frame

And could not breathe without a key

And 'twas 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 Land—

To justify—Despair

I Measure Every Grief I Meet

I measure every Grief I meet

With 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 be to die.

I note that Some, gone patient long,
At length, renew their smile,

An imitation of a Light

That has so little Oil,

I wonder if when years have piled--

Some thousands--on the Harm -

That hurt them early, such a lapse

Could give them any Balm;

Or would they go on aching still

Through centuries of Nerve,

Enlightened to a larger Pain

In contrast with the Love.

The Grieved are many, I am told;

There is the various Cause,

Death is but one and 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 kind

Correctly yet to me

A piercing Comfort it affords

In passing Calvary,

To note the fashions of the Cross

And how they’re mostly worn

Still fascinated to presume

That Some are like my Own.

Heaven is what I cannot reach!

Heaven is what I cannot reach!

The apple on the tree,

Provided it do hopeless hang,

That "heaven" is, to me.

The color on the cruising cloud,

The interdicted ground

Behind the hill, the house behind, --

There Paradise is found!

Her teasing Purples—Afternoons—
The credulous—decoy—
Enamored—of the Conjuror—
That spurned us—Yesterday!


Because I could not stop for Death,

He kindly stopped for me;

The carriage held but just ourselves

And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,

And I had put away

My labor, and my leisure too,

For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove

At recess, in the ring;

We passed the fields of gazing grain,

We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;

The dews grew quivering and chill,

For only gossamer my gown,

My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed

A swelling of the ground;

The roof was scarcely visible,

The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each

Feels shorter than the day

I first surmised the horses' heads

Were toward eternity.

'Tis whiter than an Indian Pipe –

'Tis whiter than an Indian Pipe –

'Tis dimmer than a Lace –

No stature has it, like a Fog

When you approach the place –

Not any voice imply it here –

Or intimate it there –

A spirit – how doth it accost –

What function hath the Air?

This limitless Hyperbole

Each one of us shall be –

'Tis Drama – if Hypothesis

It be not Tragedy –

If those I loved were lost

If those I loved were lost

The Crier (1) 's voice would tell me --

If those I loved were found

The bells of Ghent (2) would ring --

Did those I loved repose

The Daisy (3 ) would impel me.

Philip ( 4) -- when bewildered

Bore his riddle (5) in!


(1) Crier = louder of the storm bell

(2) Klokke Roeland, the giant storm bell of Ghent, symbol of Flemish freedom, see also Albrecht Rodenbach

(3) Symbol of Death

(4) Henry TAYLOR has Philip van Artevelde speak in his piece: "What have I done? Why such a death? Why thus?" (5) in the Battle of Oostrozebeke, he thinks his death and efforts against French aggression are in vain. His dead body was shown to the French King Charles VI and hung on a tree to make sure he was dead.