October to May

THE day that brightens half the earth
Is night to half. Ah, sweet!
One’s mourning is another’s mirth;—
You wear your bright years like a crown,—
While mine, dead garlands, tangle down
In chains about my feet.

The breeze which wakes the folded flower
Sweeps dead leaves from the tree;—
So partial Time, as hour by hour
He tells the rapid years,—eheu!
Brings bloom and beauty still to you,
But leaves his blight with me.

The rain which calls the violet up
Out of the moistened mould
Shatters the wind-flower’s fragile cup;—
For even Nature has her pets,
And, favoring the new, forgets
To love and spare the old.

The shower which makes the bud a rose
Beats off the lilac-bloom.
I am a lilac,—so life goes,—
A lilac that has outlived May;—
You are a blush-rose. Welladay!
I pass, and give you room!