Louis Untermeyer

(1885-1977 / United States)

Inhibited


I could not pity your pain but I pitied the branches
Losing what little the frost had left them to hold.
I could not warm you with sorrow; I turned to the sparrows,
Clustered like heavy brown blossoms puffed out by the cold.


They could not help me. I looked at my hands; they were helpless;
Strange and detached, less related to me than the birds.
Baffled, I called on the mind: it carried me, floundering,
Lost among meaningless phrases, tossed in a welter of words.


Too great for my blundering comfort, your anguish confused me.
From a great distance, I saw you standing alone.
Frozen and stark, in a black iron circle of silence,
I could not pity your pain; I could scarcely pity my own.

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010
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