“Sonnet” by Robert Nathan first appeared in The Atlantic in July, 1920:
I am no stranger in the house of pain;
I am familiar with its every part,
From the low stile, then up the crooked lane
To the dark doorway, intimate to my heart.
Here did I sit with grief and eat his bread,
Here was I welcomed as misfortune’s guest,
And there’s no room but where I’ve laid my head
On misery’s accomodating breast.
So, sorrow, does my knocking rouse you up?
Open the door, old mother; it is I.
Bring grief’s good goblet out, the sad, sweet cup;
Fill it with wine of silence, strong and dry.
For I’ve a story to amuse your ears,
Of youth and hope, of middle age and tears.
(Photo: Local residents gaze at the devastation after a tsunami tidal wave in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan on March 11, 2011. By Yomiuri Shimbun / STR/AFP/Getty Images.)