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Best Famous Helen Hunt Jackson Poems

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by Helen Hunt Jackson |

A Calendar of Sonnets: May

 O Month when they who love must love and wed! 
Were one to go to worlds where May is naught, 
And seek to tell the memories he had brought 
From earth of thee, what were most fitly said? 
I know not if the rosy showers shed 
From apple-boughs, or if the soft green wrought 
In fields, or if the robin's call be fraught 
The most with thy delight. Perhaps they read 
Thee best who in the ancient time did say 
Thou wert the sacred month unto the old: 
No blossom blooms upon thy brightest day 
So subtly sweet as memories which unfold 
In aged hearts which in thy sunshine lie, 
To sun themselves once more before they die.


by Helen Hunt Jackson |

Freedom

 I WILL not follow you, my bird,
 I will not follow you.
I would not breathe a word, my bird,
 To bring thee here anew.


I love the free in thee, my bird,
 The lure of freedom drew;
The light you fly toward, my bird,
 I fly with thee unto.


And there we yet will meet, my bird,
 Though far I go from you
Where in the light outpoured, my bird,
 Are love and freedom too.


by Helen Hunt Jackson |

Freedom

 What freeman knoweth freedom? Never he 
Whose father's father through long lives have reigned 
O'er kingdoms which mere heritage attained. 
Though from his youth to age he roam as free 
As winds, he dreams not freedom's ecstacy. 
But he whose birth was in a nation chained 
For centuries; where every breath was drained 
From breasts of slaves which knew not there could be 
Such thing as freedom,--he beholds the light 
Burst, dazzling; though the glory blind his sight 
He knows the joy. Fools laugh because he reels 
And weilds confusedly his infant will; 
The wise man watching with a heart that feels 
Says: "Cure for freedom's harms is freedom still."


by Helen Hunt Jackson |

A Calendar of Sonnets: March

 Month which the warring ancients strangely styled 
The month of war,--as if in their fierce ways 
Were any month of peace!--in thy rough days 
I find no war in Nature, though the wild 
Winds clash and clang, and broken boughs are piled 
As feet of writhing trees. The violets raise 
Their heads without affright, without amaze, 
And sleep through all the din, as sleeps a child. 
And he who watches well may well discern 
Sweet expectation in each living thing. 
Like pregnant mother the sweet earth doth yearn; 
In secret joy makes ready for the spring; 
And hidden, sacred, in her breast doth bear 
Annunciation lilies for the year.


by Helen Hunt Jackson |

A Calendar of Sonnets: June

 O month whose promise and fulfilment blend, 
And burst in one! it seems the earth can store 
In all her roomy house no treasure more; 
Of all her wealth no farthing have to spend 
On fruit, when once this stintless flowering end. 
And yet no tiniest flower shall fall before 
It hath made ready at its hidden core 
Its tithe of seed, which we may count and tend 
Till harvest. Joy of blossomed love, for thee 
Seems it no fairer thing can yet have birth? 
No room is left for deeper ecstacy? 
Watch well if seeds grow strong, to scatter free 
Germs for thy future summers on the earth. 
A joy which is but joy soon comes to dearth.


by Helen Hunt Jackson |

A Calendar of Sonnets: September

 O golden month! How high thy gold is heaped! 
The yellow birch-leaves shine like bright coins strung 
On wands; the chestnut's yellow pennons tongue 
To every wind its harvest challenge. Steeped 
In yellow, still lie fields where wheat was reaped; 
And yellow still the corn sheaves, stacked among 
The yellow gourds, which from the earth have wrung 
Her utmost gold. To highest boughs have leaped 
The purple grape,--last thing to ripen, late 
By very reason of its precious cost. 
O Heart, remember, vintages are lost 
If grapes do not for freezing night-dews wait. 
Think, while thou sunnest thyself in Joy's estate, 
Mayhap thou canst not ripen without frost!


by Helen Hunt Jackson |

A Calendar of Sonnets: July

 Some flowers are withered and some joys have died; 
The garden reeks with an East Indian scent 
From beds where gillyflowers stand weak and spent; 
The white heat pales the skies from side to side; 
But in still lakes and rivers, cool, content, 
Like starry blooms on a new firmament, 
White lilies float and regally abide. 
In vain the cruel skies their hot rays shed; 
The lily does not feel their brazen glare. 
In vain the pallid clouds refuse to share 
Their dews, the lily feels no thirst, no dread. 
Unharmed she lifts her queenly face and head; 
She drinks of living waters and keeps fair.


by Helen Hunt Jackson |

A Calendar of Sonnets: January

 O Winter! frozen pulse and heart of fire, 
What loss is theirs who from thy kingdom turn 
Dismayed, and think thy snow a sculptured urn 
Of death! Far sooner in midsummer tire 
The streams than under ice. June could not hire 
Her roses to forego the strength they learn 
In sleeping on thy breast. No fires can burn 
The bridges thou dost lay where men desire 
In vain to build. 
O Heart, when Love's sun goes 
To northward, and the sounds of singing cease, 
Keep warm by inner fires, and rest in peace. 
Sleep on content, as sleeps the patient rose. 
Walk boldly on the white untrodden snows, 
The winter is the winter's own release.


by Helen Hunt Jackson |

Doubt

 1 They bade me cast the thing away, 
2 They pointed to my hands all bleeding,
3 They listened not to all my pleading;
4 The thing I meant I could not say;
5 I knew that I should rue the day
6 If once I cast that thing away.

7 I grasped it firm, and bore the pain;
8 The thorny husks I stripped and scattered;
9 If I could reach its heart, what mattered
10 If other men saw not my gain,
11 Or even if I should be slain?
12 I knew the risks; I chose the pain.

13 O, had I cast that thing away,
14 I had not found what most I cherish,
15 A faith without which I should perish,--
16 The faith which, like a kernel, lay
17 Hid in the husks which on that day
18 My instinct would not throw away!


by Helen Hunt Jackson |

Freedom

 he drank wine all night of the 
28th, and he kept thinking of her: 
the way she walked and talked and loved 
the way she told him things that seemed true 
but were not, and he knew the color of each 
of her dresses 
and her shoes-he knew the stock and curve of 
each heel 
as well as the leg shaped by it. 

and she was out again and whe he came home,and 
she'd come back with that special stink again, 
and she did 
she came in at 3 a.m in the morning 
filthy like a dung eating swine 
and 
he took out a butchers knife 
and she screamed 
backing into the roominghouse wall 
still pretty somehow 
in spite of love's reek 
and he finished the glass of wine. 

that yellow dress 
his favorite 
and she screamed again. 

and he took up the knife 
and unhooked his belt 
and tore away the cloth before her 
and cut off his balls. 

and carried them in his hands 
like apricots 
and flushed them down the 
toilet bowl 
and she kept screaming 
as the room became red 

GOD O GOD! 
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? 

and he sat there holding 3 towels 
between his legs 
no caring now wether she lft or 
stayed 
wore yellow or green or 
anything at all. 

and one hand holding and one hand 
lifting he poured 
another wine