I.

A thousand houses of poesy stand around me everywhere;
They fill the earth and they fill my thought, they are in and above the air;
But to-night they have shut their doors, they have shut their shining windows fair,
And I am left in a desert world, with an aching as if of care.

II.

Cannot I break some little nut and get at the poetry in it?
Cannot I break the shining egg of some all but hatched heavenly linnet?
Cannot I find some beauty-worm, and its moony cocoon-silk spin it?
Cannot I find my all but lost day in the rich content of a minute?

III.

I will sit me down, all aching and tired, in the midst of this never-unclosing
Of door or window that makes it look as if truth herself were dozing;
I will sit me down and make me a tent, call it poetizing or prosing,
Of what may be lying within my reach, things at my poor disposing!

IV.

Now what is nearest?–My conscious self. Here I sit quiet and say:
“Lo, I myself am already a house of poetry solemn and gay!
But, alas, the windows are shut, all shut: ’tis a cold and foggy day,
And I have not now the light to see what is in me the same alway!”

V.

Nay, rather I’ll say: “I am a nut in the hard and frozen ground;
Above is the damp and frozen air, the cold blue sky all round;
And the power of a leafy and branchy tree is in me crushed and bound
Till the summer come and set it free from the grave-clothes in which it is wound!”

VI.

But I bethink me of something better!–something better, yea best!
“I am lying a voiceless, featherless thing in God’s own perfect nest;
And the voice and the song are growing within me, slowly lifting my breast;
And his wide night-wings are closed about me, for his sun is down in the west!”

VII.

Doors and windows, tents and grave-clothes, winters and eggs and seeds,
Ye shall all be opened and broken and torn; ye are but to serve my needs!
On the will of the Father all lovely things are strung like a string of beads
For his heart to give the obedient child that the will of the father heeds.

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