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I Am a Parcel of Vain Strivings
by
Henry David Thoreau


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I am a parcel of vain strivings tied
By a chance bond together,
Dangling this way and that, their links
Were made so loose and wide,
Methinks,
For milder weather.

A bunch of violets without their roots,
And sorrel intermixed,
Encircled by a wisp of straw
Once coiled about their shoots,
The law
By which I’m fixed.

A nosegay which Time clutched from out
Those fair Elysian fields,
With weeds and broken stems, in haste,
Doth make the rabble rout
That waste
The day he yields.

And here I bloom for a short hour unseen,
Drinking my juices up,
With no root in the land
To keep my branches green,
But stand
In a bare cup.

Some tender buds were left upon my stem
In mimicry of life,
But ah! the children will not know,
Till time has withered them,
The woe
With which they’re rife.

But now I see I was not plucked for naught,
And after in life’s vase
Of glass set while I might survive,
But by a kind hand brought
Alive
To a strange place.

That stock thus thinned will soon redeem its hours,
And by another year,
Such as God knows, with freer air,
More fruits and fairer flowers
Will bear,
While I droop here.

 

This poem is in the public domain.

 

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Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862) was an American writer who celebrated nature and independence; we know him best for his book, Walden, which chronicles two years of life he spent in a tiny cabin on the shores of Walden Lake, and for his essay, Civil Disobedience, works cited as powerful influences by no less than Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Thoreau (which is pronounced "THUR-oh," by the way, not "thu-ROW") was a contemporary and friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May and Bronson Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne; he lived his entire life in Massachusetts and was a graduate of Harvard. To learn more about him, visit www.thoreausociety.org.


New comments are closed for now.
Ross Kightly:
Message for Henry David Thoreau: Hey, Dude, did I ever tell ya life was gonna be easy, fair, set up like a smorgasbord for the picking? No, I think not. Get on with it Dude, stop wittering! (Great choice of poem Jayne - and I've sent off a t-shirt for printing!!)
Posted 11/23/2015 02:10 AM


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