Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ABNEGATION, by KATHARINE BROWN BURT



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ABNEGATION, by            
First Line: Should wilding foot no more this woodpath follow
Last Line: My heart long dead, grant body, too, may die!
Subject(s): Aging; Life


Should wilding foot no more this woodpath follow,
My heart too dull, my knee too stiff to crouch
Searching with spring the elusive barren hollow
Where ladyslippers hand a pink-veined pouch;
When eyes, beside these meadows bronzed and fallow
Kindle no more incredulous to behold
The gleaming trumpet of the August mallow, --
Ah then I shall be old, -- dear God, how old!

Should I forget in reminiscent greeting
To scuff Fall's golden pool of crackling leaves,
Or fail to hear an elfin footfall fleeting
Between the pumpkins and the harvest sheaves;
If with these dawns my sleepless spirit treading
Beside my bed should no good-morrow say
As sunrise on the tingling marshland spreading
Unrolls bright arras for the feet of day;

If I should cease to hail as hidden treasure
The violet gentian by October's stream,
Nor pause in rapture's wonderment to measure
These twilight valleys steeped in purpled dream;
If stolid ear, when wind and storm make battle,
Hear only rain and wailing solitude,
Or should I see in sun and air and cattle
Mere light and breath and my habitual food; --

I shall be old indeed, in age more tragic
Than age can ever be for alien eye;
Should earth and season lose their ancient magic,
My heart long dead, grant body, too, may die!





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