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Seniority by Howard Glyndon

 

Child! Such thou seemest to me that am more old

In sorrow than in years,

With that long pain that turns us bitter cold,

Far worse than these hot tears

Of thine, that fall so fast upon my breast.

I know they ease thy grief:

I know they comfort, and will bring thee rest,

Thou poor wind-shaken leaf!

Ah yes, thy storm will pass, thy skies will clear.

Thou smilest beneath my kiss:

Lift up the blue eyes cleansed by weeping, dear,

Of every thought amiss.

What seest thou, child, in these dry eyes of mine?

Grief that hath spent its tears—

Grief that its right to weeping must resign,

Not told by days, but years.

The bitterest is that weeping of the heart

That mounts not to the eyes:

In its lone chamber we sit down apart,

And no one hears our cries.

It comes to this with every deep, true soul:

'Tis neither kill nor cure,

But a strong sorrow held in strong control,

A girding to endure.

For no such soul lives in this tangled world

But, like Achilles' heel,

Hath in the quick a shaft too truly hurled—

Flesh growing round the steel.

And with its outcome would come all Life's flood:

Joy is so twined with pain,

Sweetness and tears so blended in our blood,

They will not part again.

For at the last the heart grows round its grief,

And holds it without strife:

So used we are, we cry not for relief,

For we know all of life.

And this is why I kiss thy tear-wet eyes,

Nor think thy grief so great.

Thou untried child! at every fresh surprise

Thy heart springs to the gate.

Howard Glyndon.