Give me your hand
Make room for me
to lead and follow
beyond this rage of poetry.
Let others have
the privacy of
and love of loss
Give me your hand.
Finding is the first Act
The second, loss,
Third, Expedition for
The "Golden Fleece"
Fourth, no Discovery --
Fifth, no Crew --
Finally, no Golden Fleece --
Jason -- sham -- too.
the way loss seeps
into neck hollows
and curls at temples
sits between front teeth
empty and waiting
for mourning to open
the way mourning stays
forever shadowing vision
shaping lives with memory
a drawer won't close
the only real is grief
forever counting the days
minutes missing without knowing
so that one day
you find yourself
missing that love
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When I compare
What I have lost with what I have gained,
What I have missed with what attained,
Little room do I find for pride.
I am aware
How many days have been idly spent;
How like an arrow the good intent
Has fallen short or been turned aside.
But who shall dare
To measure loss and gain in this wise?
Defeat may be victory in disguise;
The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.
The sky is torn across
This ragged anniversary of two
Who moved for three years in tune
Down the long walks of their vows.
Now their love lies a loss
And Love and his patients roar on a chain;
From every tune or crater
Carrying cloud, Death strikes their house.
Too late in the wrong rain
They come together whom their love parted:
The windows pour into their heart
And the doors burn in their brain.
Perception of an object costs
Precise the Object's loss --
Perception in itself a Gain
Replying to its Price --
The Object Absolute -- is nought --
Perception sets it fair
And then upbraids a Perfectness
That situates so far --
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Virtue runs before the muse
And defies her skill,
She is rapt, and doth refuse
To wait a painter's will.
Virtue cannot bend her,
Just to please a poet's pride,
To parade her splendor.
The bard must be with good intent
No more his, but hers,
Throw away his pen and paint,
Kneel with worshippers.
Then, perchance, a sunny ray
From the heaven of fire,
His lost tools may over-pay,
And better his desire.
The light by the barn that shines all night
pales at dawn when a little breeze comes.
A little breeze comes breathing the fields
from their sleep and waking the slow windmill.
The slow windmill sings the long day
about anguish and loss to the chickens at work.
The little breeze follows the slow windmill
and the chickens at work till the sun goes down--
Then the light by the barn again.
Had I presumed to hope --
The loss had been to Me
A Value -- for the Greatness' Sake --
As Giants -- gone away --
Had I presumed to gain
A Favor so remote --
The failure but confirm the Grace
In further Infinite --
'Tis failure -- not of Hope --
But Confident Despair --
Advancing on Celestial Lists --
With faint -- Terrestial power --
'Tis Honor -- though I die --
For That no Man obtain
Till He be justified by Death --
This -- is the Second Gain --
Who saw no Sunrise cannot say
The Countenance 'twould be.
Who guess at seeing, guess at loss
Of the Ability.
The Emigrant of Light, it is
Afflicted for the Day.
The Blindness that beheld and blest --
And could not find its Eye.
Now close the windows and hush all the fields:
If the trees must, let them silently toss;
No bird is singing now, and if there is,
Be it my loss.
It will be long ere the marshes resume,
I will be long ere the earliest bird:
So close the windows and not hear the wind,
But see all wind-stirred.
Many animals that our fathers killed in America
Had quick eyes.
They stared about wildly,
When the moon went dark.
The new moon falls into the freight yards
Of cities in the south,
But the loss of the moon to the dark hands of Chicago
Does not matter to the deer
In this northern field.
What is that tall woman doing
There, in the trees?
I can hear rabbits and mourning dovees whispering together
In the dark grass, there
Under the trees.
I look about wildly.
Robert William Service
My Father Christmas passed away
When I was barely seven.
At twenty-one, alack-a-day,
I lost my hope of heaven.
Yet not in either lies the curse:
The hell of it's because
I don't know which loss hurt the worse --
My God or Santa Claus.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
AH! who'll e'er those days restore,
Those bright days of early love
Who'll one hour again concede,
Of that time so fondly cherish'd!
Silently my wounds I feed,
And with wailing evermore
Sorrow o'er each joy now perish'd.
Ah! who'll e'er the days restore
Of that time so fondly cherish'd.
Must be a Woe --
A loss or so --
To bend the eye
Best Beauty's way --
But -- once aslant
It notes Delight
A Common Bliss
Were had for less --
The price -- is
Even as the Grace --
Our lord -- thought no
To pay -- a Cross --
Love seeketh not Itself to please.
Nor for itself hath any care;
But for another gives its ease.
And builds a Heaven in Hells despair.
So sung a little Clod of Clay,
Trodden with the cattle's feet;
But a Pebble of the brook.
Warbled out these metres meet.
Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to Its delight;
Joys in anothers loss of ease.
And builds a Hell in Heavens despite.
Of so divine a Loss
We enter but the Gain,
Indemnity for Loneliness
That such a Bliss has been.
If hands could free you, heart,
Where would you fly?
Far, beyond every part
Of earth this running sky
Makes desolate? Would you cross
City and hill and sea,
If hands could set you free?
I would not lift the latch;
For I could run
Through fields, pit-valleys, catch
All beauty under the sun--
Still end in loss:
I should find no bent arm, no bed
To rest my head.
William Butler Yeats
Pale brows, still hands and dim hair,
I had a beautiful friend
And dreamed that the old despair
Would end in love in the end:
She looked in my heart one day
And saw your image was there;
She has gone weeping away.
Removed from Accident of Loss
By Accident of Gain
Befalling not my simple Days --
Myself had just to earn --
Of Riches -- as unconscious
As is the Brown Malay
Of Pearls in Eastern Waters,
Marked His -- What Holiday
Would stir his slow conception --
Had he the power to dream
That put the Dower's fraction --
Awaited even -- Him --
I have lost, and lately, these
Many dainty mistresses:--
Stately Julia, prime of all;
Sapho next, a principal:
Smooth Anthea, for a skin
White, and heaven-like crystalline:
Sweet Electra, and the choice
Myrha, for the lute and voice.
Next, Corinna, for her wit,
And the graceful use of it;
With Perilla:--All are gone;
Only Herrick's left alone,
For to number sorrow by
Their departures hence, and die.
DREAMS in the dusk,
Only dreams closing the day
And with the day's close going back
To the gray things, the dark things,
The far, deep things of dreamland.
Dreams, only dreams in the dusk,
Only the old remembered pictures
Of lost days when the day's loss
Wrote in tears the heart's loss.
Tears and loss and broken dreams
May find your heart at dusk.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
When this world's pleasures for my soul sufficed,
Ere my heart's plummet sounded depths of pain,
I call on Reason to control my brain,
And scoffed at that old story of Christ.
But when o'er burning wastes my feet had trod,
And all my life was desolate with loss,
With bleeding hands I clung about the cross,
And cried aloud, 'Man needs a suffering God! '
Had this one Day not been.
Or could it cease to be
How smitten, how superfluous,
Were every other Day!
Lest Love should value less
What Loss would value more
Had it the stricken privilege,
It cherishes before.
IN wood and wild, ye warbling throng,
Your heavy loss deplore;
Now, half extinct your powers of song,
Sweet Echo is no more.
Ye jarring, screeching things around,
Scream your discordant joys;
Now, half your din of tuneless sound
With Echo silent lies.