The first Day's Night had come — And grateful that a thing So terrible — had been endured — I told my Soul to sing — She said her Strings were snapt — Her Bow — to Atoms blown — And so to mend her — gave me work Until another Morn — And then — a Day as huge As Yesterdays in pairs, Unrolled its horror in my face — Until it blocked my eyes — My Brain — begun to laugh — I mumbled — like a fool — And tho' 'tis Years ago — that Day — My Brain keeps giggling — still. And Something's odd — within — That person that I was — And this One — do not feel the same — Could it be Madness — this?
The Color of the Grave is Green — The Outer Grave — I mean — You would not know it from the Field — Except it own a Stone — To help the fond — to find it — Too infinite asleep To stop and tell them where it is — But just a Daisy — deep — The Color of the Grave is white — The outer Grave — I mean — You would not know it from the Drifts — In Winter — till the Sun — Has furrowed out the Aisles — Then — higher than the Land The little Dwelling Houses rise Where each — has left a friend — The Color of the Grave within — The Duplicate — I mean — Not all the Snows could make it white — Not all the Summers — Green — You've seen the Color — maybe — Upon a Bonnet bound — When that you met it with before — The Ferret — cannot find —
'Twas like a Maelstrom, with a notch, That nearer, every Day, Kept narrowing its boiling Wheel Until the Agony Toyed coolly with the final inch Of your delirious Hem — And you dropt, lost, When something broke — And let you from a Dream — As if a Goblin with a Gauge — Kept measuring the Hours — Until you felt your Second Weigh, helpless, in his Paws — And not a Sinew — stirred — could help, And sense was setting numb — When God — remembered — and the Fiend Let go, then, Overcome — As if your Sentence stood — pronounced — And you were frozen led From Dungeon's luxury of Doubt To Gibbets, and the Dead — And when the Film had stitched your eyes A Creature gasped "Reprieve"! Which Anguish was the utterest — then — To perish, or to live?
I gave myself to Him — And took Himself, for Pay, The solemn contract of a Life Was ratified, this way — The Wealth might disappoint — Myself a poorer prove Than this great Purchaser suspect, The Daily Own — of Love Depreciate the Vision — But till the Merchant buy — Still Fable — in the Isles of Spice — The subtle Cargoes — lie — At least — 'tis Mutual — Risk — Some — found it — Mutual Gain — Sweet Debt of Life — Each Night to owe — Insolvent — every Noon —
Sunset at Night — is natural — But Sunset on the Dawn Reverses Nature — Master — So Midnight's — due — at Noon. Eclipses be — predicted — And Science bows them in — But do one face us suddenly — Jehovah's Watch — is wrong.
We grow accustomed to the Dark — When light is put away — As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp To witness her Goodbye — A Moment — We uncertain step For newness of the night — Then — fit our Vision to the Dark — And meet the Road — erect — And so of larger — Darkness — Those Evenings of the Brain — When not a Moon disclose a sign — Or Star — come out — within — The Bravest — grope a little — And sometimes hit a Tree Directly in the Forehead — But as they learn to see — Either the Darkness alters — Or something in the sight Adjusts itself to Midnight — And Life steps almost straight.
You'll know it — as you know 'tis Noon — By Glory — As you do the Sun — By Glory — As you will in Heaven — Know God the Father — and the Son. By intuition, Mightiest Things Assert themselves — and not by terms — "I'm Midnight" — need the Midnight say — "I'm Sunrise" — Need the Majesty? Omnipotence — had not a Tongue — His lisp — is Lightning — and the Sun — His Conversation — with the Sea — "How shall you know"? Consult your Eye!
A Charm invests a face Imperfectly beheld — The Lady dare not lift her Veil For fear it be dispelled — But peers beyond her mesh — And wishes — and denies — Lest Interview — annul a want That Image — satisfies —
If I may have it, when it's dead, I'll be contented — so — If just as soon as Breath is out It shall belong to me — Until they lock it in the Grave, 'Tis Bliss I cannot weigh — For tho' they lock Thee in the Grave, Myself — can own the key — Think of it Lover! I and Thee Permitted — face to face to be — After a Life — a Death — We'll say — For Death was That — And this — is Thee — I'll tell Thee All — how Bald it grew — How Midnight felt, at first — to me — How all the Clocks stopped in the World — And Sunshine pinched me — 'Twas so cold — Then how the Grief got sleepy — some — As if my Soul were deaf and dumb — Just making signs — across — to Thee — That this way — thou could'st notice me — I'll tell you how I tried to keep A smile, to show you, when this Deep All Waded — We look back for Play, At those Old Times — in Calvary, Forgive me, if the Grave come slow — For Coveting to look at Thee — Forgive me, if to stroke thy frost Outvisions Paradise!
I read my sentence — steadily — Reviewed it with my eyes, To see that I made no mistake In its extremest clause — The Date, and manner, of the shame — And then the Pious Form That "God have mercy" on the Soul The Jury voted Him — I made my soul familiar — with her extremity — That at the last, it should not be a novel Agony — But she, and Death, acquainted — Meet tranquilly, as friends — Salute, and pass, without a Hint — And there, the Matter ends —
A Murmur in the Trees — to note — Not loud enough — for Wind — A Star — not far enough to seek — Nor near enough — to find — A long — long Yellow — on the Lawn — A Hubbub — as of feet — Not audible — as Ours — to Us — But dapperer — More Sweet — A Hurrying Home of little Men To Houses unperceived — All this — and more — if I should tell — Would never be believed — Of Robins in the Trundle bed How many I espy Whose Nightgowns could not hide the Wings — Although I heard them try — But then I promised ne'er to tell — How could I break My Word? So go your Way — and I'll go Mine — No fear you'll miss the Road.
Is it dead — Find it — Out of sound — Out of sight — "Happy"? Which is wiser — You, or the Wind? "Conscious"? Won't you ask that — Of the low Ground? "Homesick"? Many met it — Even through them — This Cannot testify — Themself — as dumb —
Not in this World to see his face — Sounds long — until I read the place Where this — is said to be But just the Primer — to a life — Unopened — rare — Upon the Shelf — Clasped yet — to Him — and Me — And yet — My Primer suits me so I would not choose — a Book to know Than that — be sweeter wise — Might some one else — so learned — be — And leave me — just my A — B — C — Himself — could have the Skies —
I found the words to every thought I ever had — but One — And that — defies me — As a Hand did try to chalk the Sun To Races — nurtured in the Dark — How would your own — begin? Can Blaze be shown in Cochineal — Or Noon — in Mazarin?
I never felt at Home — Below —- And in the Handsome Skies I shall not feel at Home — I know — I don't like Paradise — Because it's Sunday — all the time — And Recess — never comes — And Eden'll be so lonesome Bright Wednesday Afternoons — If God could make a visit — Or ever took a Nap — So not to see us — but they say Himself — a Telescope Perennial beholds us — Myself would run away From Him — and Holy Ghost — and All — But there's the "Judgement Day"!
The Body grows without — The more convenient way — That if the Spirit — like to hide Its Temple stands, alway, Ajar — secure — inviting — It never did betray The Soul that asked its shelter In solemn honesty
I had been hungry, all the Years — My Noon had Come — to dine — I trembling drew the Table near — And touched the Curious Wine — 'Twas this on Tables I had seen — When turning, hungry, Home I looked in Windows, for the Wealth I could not hope — for Mine — I did not know the ample Bread — 'Twas so unlike the Crumb The Birds and I, had often shared In Nature's — Dining Room — The Plenty hurt me — 'twas so new — Myself felt ill — and odd — As Berry — of a Mountain Bush — Transplanted — to a Road — Nor was I hungry — so I found That Hunger — was a way Of Persons outside Windows — The Entering — takes away —