HOW AND WHERE
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 the 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!
- Alice Cary