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Thou hadst no home, and thou couldst see
  In every street the windows' light:
  Dragging thy limbs about all night,
No window kept a light for thee.

However much thou wert distressed,
  Or tired of moving, and felt sick,
  Thy life was on the open deck—
Thou hadst no cabin for thy rest.

Thy barque was helpless 'neath the sky,
  No pilot thought thee worth his pains
  To guide for love or money gains—
Like phantom ships the rich sailed by.

Thy shadow mocked thee night and day,
  Thy life's companion, it alone;
  It did not sigh, it did not moan,
But mocked thy moves in every way.

In spite of all, the mind had force,
  And, like a stream whose surface flows
  The wrong way when a strong wind blows,
It underneath maintained its course.

Oft didst thou think thy mind would flower
  Too late for good, as some bruised tree
  That blooms in Autumn, and we see
Fruit not worth picking, hard and sour.

Some poets feign their wounds and scars.
  If they had known real suffering hours,
  They'd show, in place of Fancy's flowers,
More of Imagination's stars.

So, if thy fruits of Poesy
  Are rich, it is at this dear cost—
  That they were nipt by Sorrow's frost,
In nights of homeless misery.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.


The author died in 1940, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.