Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DEBT, by KATHARINE LEE BATES

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THE DEBT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Because the years are few, I must be glad
Last Line: Poor that I am, a coin of golden joy.
Subject(s): Aging; Holidays; Thanksgiving; Wellesley College

BECAUSE the years are few, I must be glad;
Because the silence is so near, I sing;
'Twere ill to quit an inn where I have had
Such bounteous fare nor pay my reckoning.
I would not, from some gleaming parapet
Of Sirius or Vega, bend my gaze
On a remembered sparkle and regret
That from it thanklessly I went my ways
Up through the starry colonnades nor found
Violets in any Paradise more blue
Than those that blossomed on my own waste ground
Nor vespers sweeter than the robins knew.

Though Earth be but an outpost of delight,
Heaven's wild frontier by tragedy beset,
Only a Shakespeare may her gifts requite,
Only a happy Raphael pay his debt.
Yet I, to whom, even as to these, are given
Cascading foam, emblazoned butterflies,
The moon's pearl chariot through the massed clouds driven,
And the divinity of loving eyes,
Would make my peace now with mine hostess Earth,
Give and take pardon for all brief annoy,
And toss her, far beneath my lodging's worth,
Poor that I am, a coin of golden joy.

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