Cordula's Web. ONMT. Les Merinides, Fes. Morocco.
ONMT. Les Merinides, Fes. HiRes. Gallery 33


Edith Nesbit

I had a soul,
Not strong, but following good if good but led.
I might have kept it clean and pure and whole,
And given it up at last, grown strong with days

Of steadfast striving in truth's stern sweet ways;
Instead, I soiled and smutched and smothered it
With poison-flowers it valued not one whit,
Now it is dead.

* * * * *

I had a heart
Most true, most sweet, that on my loving fed.
I might have kept her all my life, a part
Of all my life, I let her starve and pine,

Ruined her life and desolated mine.
Sin brushed my lips, I yielded at a touch,
Tempted so little, and I sinned so much,
And she is dead.

* * * * *

There was a life
That in my sin I took and chained and wed,
And made, perpetual remorse!, my wife.
In my sin's harvest she must reap her share,

That makes its sheaves less light for me to bear.
Oh, life I might have left to bloom and grow!
I struck its root of happiness one blow,
And it is dead.

* * * * *

Once joy I had,
Now I have only agony instead,
That maddens, yet will never send me mad.
The best that comes is numbed half-sick despair,

Remembering how sweet the dear dead were.
My whole life might have been one clear joy song!
Now, oh, my heart, how still life is, how long,
For joy is dead.

* * * * *

Yet there is this:

I chose the thorns not grapes, the stones not bread;
I had my chance, they say, to gain or miss.
And yet I feel it was predestinate
From the first hour, from the first dawn of fate,

That I, thus placed, when that hour should arise,
Must act thus, and could not act otherwise.
This is the worst of all that can be said;
For hope is dead.

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