Emily Dickinson


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--