Emily Dickinson

(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886 / Amherst / Massachusetts)

I measure every Grief I meet (561)


I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, Eyes--
I wonder if It weighs like Mine--
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long--
Or did it just begin--
I could not tell the Date of Mine--
It feels so old a pain--

I wonder if it hurts to live--
And if They have to try--
And whether--could They choose between--
It would not be--to die--

I note that Some--gone patient long--
At length, renew their smile--
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil--

I wonder if when Years have piled--
Some Thousands--on the Harm--
That hurt them early--such a lapse
Could give them any Balm--

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve--
Enlightened to a larger Pain--
In Contrast with the Love--

The Grieved--are many--I am told--
There is the various Cause--
Death--is but one--and comes but once--
And only nails the eyes--

There's Grief of Want--and grief of Cold--
A sort they call "Despair"--
There's Banishment from native Eyes--
In Sight of Native Air--

And though I may not guess the kind--
Correctly--yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary--

To note the fashions--of the Cross--
And how they're mostly worn--
Still fascinated to presume
That Some--are like My Own--

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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