Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FERN-LIFE, by LUCY LARCOM

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FERN-LIFE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Yes, life! Though it seems half a death
Last Line: It may never attain.
Subject(s): Beauty; Flowers; Hearts; Life; Soul

Yes, life! though it seems half a death,
When the flowers of the glen
Bend over, with color and breath,
Till we tremble again;

Till we shudder with exquisite pain
Their beauty to see,
While our dumb hope, through fibre and vein,
Climbs up to be free.

No blossom -- scarce leaf -- on the ground,
Vague fruitage we bear, --
Point upward, reach fingers around,
In a tender despair.

And we pencil rare patterns of grace
Men's footsteps about:
A charm in our wilderness-place
They find us, no doubt.

Yet why must this possible more
Forever be less?
The unattained flower in the spore
Hints a human distress.

We fern-folk with grave whispers crowd
The solemn wood-gloom,
Or weave over clods our green cloud
Of nebulous bloom.

To fashion our life as a flower,
In weird curves we reach, --
O man, with your beautiful power
Of presence and speech!

Yet the heart of the human must grope
Through its nobler despair;
For it can but look upward, and hope
All perfection to share.

And to dream of the sweetness we miss
Is not wholly in vain;
For the soul can be glad in a bliss
It may never attain.

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