The wind charged every way, and fled
Across the meadows and the wheat;
It whirled the swallows overhead,
And swung the daisies at my feet.
As if in mockery of me,
And all the deadness of my thought,
It mounted to the largest glee,
And, like a lord that laughed and fought,
Took all the maples by surprise,
And made the poplars clash and shiver,
And flung my hair about my eyes,
And sprang and blackened on the river.
And through the elm-tree tops, and round
The city steeples wild and high,
It floundered with a mighty sound,
A buoyant voice that seemed to cry,—
“Behold how grand I am, how free!
And all the forest bends my way!
I roam the earth, I stalk the sea,
And make my labor but a play.”
Never mind a change of scene
Try a change of thinking.
What if things seem sordid, mean,
What’s the use of blinking?
Life’s not always storm and cloud,
Somewhere stars are shining.
Try to think your joys out loud,
Silence all repining.
By degrees, by thinking light,
Thinking glad and sweetly,
You’ll escape the stress of night,
Worry gone completely.
Get the habit looking for
Tapping gaily at your door
Surest cure for fretting.
Needn’t fool yourself at all,
For there’s no denying
E’en above a prison wall
Song-birds are aflying.
Wherefore hearken to the song,
Never mind the prison,
And you’ll find your soul ere long
Unto freedom risen.
The last light has gone out of the world, except
This moonlight lying on the grass like frost
Beyond the brink of the tall elm’s shadow.
It is as if everything else had slept
Many an age, unforgotten and lost —
The men that were, the things done, long ago,
All I have thought; and but the moon and I
Live yet and here stand idle over a grave
Where all is buried. Both have liberty
To dream what we could do if we were free
To do some thing we had desired long,
The moon and I. There’s none less free than who
Does nothing and has nothing else to do,
Being free only for what is not to his mind,
And nothing is to his mind. If every hour
Like this one passing that I have spent among
The wiser others when I have forgot
To wonder whether I was free or not,
Were piled before me, and not lost behind,
And I could take and carry them away
I should be rich; or if I had the power
To wipe out every one and not again
Regret, I should be rich to be so poor.
And yet I still am half in love with pain,
With what is imperfect, with both tears and mirth,
With things that have an end, with life and earth,
And this moon that leaves me dark within the door.
When I moved from one house to another
there were many things I had no room
for. What does one do? I rented a storage
space. And filled it. Years passed.
Occasionally I went there and looked in,
but nothing happened, not a single
twinge of the heart.
As I grew older the things I cared
about grew fewer, but were more
important. So one day I undid the lock
and called the trash man. He took
I felt like the little donkey when
his burden is finally lifted. Things!
Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful
fire! More room in your heart for love,
for the trees! For the birds who own
nothing – the reason they can fly.