James Russell Lowell

To a Friend

  One strip of bark may feed the broken tree,
  Giving to some few limbs a sickly green;
  And one light shower on the hills, I ween,
  May keep the spring from drying utterly.
  Thus seemeth it with these our hearts to be;
  Hope is the strip of bark, the shower of rain,
  And so they are not wholly crushed with pain.
  But live and linger on, far sadder sight to see;
  Much do they err, who tell us that the heart
  May not be broken; what, then, can we call
  A broken heart, if this may not be so,
  This death in life, when, shrouded in its pall,
  Shunning and shunned, it dwelleth all apart,
  Its power, its love, its sympathy laid low?

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