Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HOW AND WHERE?, by ALICE CARY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

HOW AND WHERE?, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: How are we living?
Last Line: Expecting good things!
Subject(s): Life

HOW are we living?
Like herbs in a garden that stand in a row,
And have nothing to do but to stand there and grow?
Our powers of perceiving
So dull and so dead,
They simply extend to the objects about us, --
The moth, having all his dark pleasure without us, --
The worm in his bed!

If thus we are living,
And fading and falling, and rotting, alas! --
Like the grass, or the flowers that grow in the grass, --
Is life worth our having?
The insect a-humming --
The wild bird is better, that sings as it flies, --
The ox, that turns up his great face to the skies,
When the thunder is coming.

Where are we living?
In passion, and pain, and remorse do we dwell, --
Creating, yet terribly hating, our hell?
No triumph achieving?
No grossness refining?
The wild tree does more; for his coat of rough barks
He trims with green mosses, and checks with the marks
Of the long summer shining.

We're dying, not living:
Our senses shut up, and our hearts faint and cold;
Upholding old things just because they are old;
Our good spirits grieving,
We suffer our springs
Of promise to pass without sowing the land,
And hungry and sad in the harvest-time stand,
Expecting good things!

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