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Lizette Woodworth Reese

I wonder at the idleness of tears.

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Reserve

Keep back the one word more,
Nor give of your whole store;
For, it may be, in Art’s sole hour of need,
Lacking that word, you shall be poor indeed.

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Immortality

Battles nor songs can from oblivion save,
But Fame upon a white deed loves to build:
From out that cup of water Sidney gave,
Not one drop has been spilled.

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A Little Song Of Life

Glad that I live am I;
That the sky is blue;
Glad for the country lanes,
And the fall of dew.

After the sun the rain;
After the rain the sun;
This is the way of life,
Till the work be done.

All that we need to do,
Be we low or high,
Is to see that we grow
Nearer the sky.

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Love Came Back At Fall O’ Dew

Love came back at fall o' dew,
Playing his old part;
But I had a word or two
That would break his heart.

'He who comes at candlelight,
That should come before,
Must betake him to the night
From a barred door.'

This the word that made us part
In the fall o' dew;
This the word that brake his heart --
Yet it brake mine, too.

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After

Oh, the littles that remain!
Scent of mint out in the lane;
Flare of window; sound of bees; —
These, but these.

Three times sitting down to bread;
One time climbing up to bed;
Table-setting o’er and o’er;
Drying herbs for winter’s store;
This thing; that thing;—nothing more.

But just now out in the lane,
Oh, the scent of mint was plain!

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In Time Of Grief

Dark, thinned, beside the wall of stone,
The box dripped in the air;
Its odor through my house was blown
Into the chamber there.

Remote and yet distinct the scent,
The sole thing of the kind,
As though one spoke a word half meant
That left a sting behind.

I knew not Grief would go from me,
And naught of it be plain,
Except how keen the box can be
After a fall of rain.

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Wise

An apple orchard smells like wine;
A succory flower is blue;
Until Grief touched these eyes of mine,
Such things I never knew.

And now indeed I know so plain
Why one would like to cry
When spouts are full of April rain—
Such lonely folk go by!

So wise, so wise—that my tears fall
Each breaking of the dawn;
That I do long to tell you all—
But you are dead and gone.

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The Good Joan

A long the thousand roads of France,
Now there, and here, swift as a glance,
A cloud, a mist blown down the sky,
Good Joan of Arc goes riding by.

In Domremy at candlelight,
The orchards blowing rose and white
About the shadowy houses lie;
And Joan of Arc goes riding by.

On Avignon there falls a hush,
Brief as the singing of a thrush
Across old gardens April-high;
And Joan of Arc goes riding by.

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A Song For Candlemas

There’s never a rose upon the bush,
And never a bud on any tree;
In wood and field nor hint nor sign
Of one green thing for you or me.
Come in, come in, sweet love of mine,
And let the bitter weather be!

Coated with ice the garden wall;
The river reeds are stark and still;
The wind goes plunging to the sea,
And last week’s flakes the hollows fill.
Come in, come in, sweet love, to me,
And let the year blow as it will!

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