Not Sickness stains the Brave,

Not Sickness stains the Brave,
Nor any Dart,
Nor Doubt of Scene to come,
But an adjourning Heart -

by Emily Dickinson.

A Sickness Of This World It Most Occasions

A Sickness of this World it most occasions
When Best Men die.
A Wishfulness their far Condition
To occupy.

A Chief indifference, as Foreign
A World must be
Themselves forsake - contented,
For Deity.

by Emily Dickinson.

They Choose Not Ill Their Lot Who Choose

They choose not ill their lot who choose
All quietly to live and die,
By Science sheltered or the Muse,
In unpretending privacy.
Proud epitaph—the world's acclaim—
These ask thou not; if, in their room,
Some few but love thy living name,
And household tears bedew the tomb.

by John Kenyon.

Would You Like Summer? Taste Of Ours

691

Would you like summer? Taste of ours.
Spices? Buy here!
Ill! We have berries, for the parching!
Weary! Furloughs of down!
Perplexed! Estates of violet trouble ne'er looked on!
Captive! We bring reprieve of roses!
Fainting! Flasks of air!
Even for Death, a fairy medicine.
But, which is it, sir?

by Emily Dickinson.

The Sick Man And The Nightingale

(From Lenau.)


So late, and yet a nightingale?
Long since have dropp'd the blossoms pale,
The summer fields are ripening,
And yet a sound of spring?

O tell me, didst thou come to hear,
Sweet Spring, that I should die this year;
And call'st across from the far shore
To me one greeting more?

by Amy Levy.

As One Does Sickness Over

957

As One does Sickness over
In convalescent Mind,
His scrutiny of Chances
By blessed Health obscured—

As One rewalks a Precipice
And whittles at the Twig
That held Him from Perdition
Sown sidewise in the Crag

A Custom of the Soul
Far after suffering
Identity to question
For evidence't has been—

by Emily Dickinson.

A Prayer In Sickness

Thou foldest me in sickness;
Thou callest through the cloud;
I batter with the thickness
Of the swathing, blinding shroud:
Oh, let me see thy face,
The only perfect grace
That thou canst show thy child.

0 father, being-giver,
Take off the sickness-cloud;
Saviour, my life deliver
From this dull body-shroud:
Till I can see thy face
I am not full of grace,
I am not reconciled.

by George MacDonald.

Thy arms with bracelets I will deck,
and with a string of pearls thy neck,
and with my lips thy lips.
My fever-floods shall bear thy passion-ships,
and I will bid thy courage flare,
with all my soul in flame,

and I will crown thy hair
with acclamations I will tear
from poets put to shame.

And then thy pardon I will ask
for having done so ill my task
of singing thy perfumèd grace,
and queenly beauty of thy face.

by Gustave Kahn.

On An Ill-Managed House

LET me thy properties explain:
A rotten cabin dropping rain:
Chimneys, with scorn rejecting smoke;
Stools, tables, chairs, and bedsteads broke.
Here elements have lost their uses,
Air ripens not, nor earth produces:
In vain we make poor Sheelah toil,
Fire will not roast, nor water boil.
Through all the valleys, hills, and plains,
The Goddess Want, in triumph reigns:
And her chief officers of state,
Sloth, Dirt, and Theft, around her wait.

by Jonathan Swift.

How Sick—to Wait—in Any Place—but Thine

368

How sick—to wait—in any place—but thine—
I knew last night—when someone tried to twine—
Thinking—perhaps—that I looked tired—or alone—
Or breaking—almost—with unspoken pain—

And I turned—ducal—
That right—was thine—
One port—suffices—for a Brig—like mine—

Ours be the tossing—wild though the sea—
Rather than a Mooring—unshared by thee.
Ours be the Cargo—unladed—here—
Rather than the "spicy isles—"
And thou—not there—

by Emily Dickinson.

Epitaph On The Same

Farewell, mild saint!—meek child of love, farewell!
Ill can this stone thy finished virtues tell.
Rest, rest in peace! the task of life is o'er;
Sorrows shall sting, and sickness waste no more.
But hard our task from one so loved to part,
While fond remembrance clings round every heart,—
Hard to resign the sister, friend, and wife,
And all that cheers, and all that softens life.
Farewell! for thee the gates of bliss unclose,
And endless joy succeeds to transient woes.

by Anna Laetitia Barbauld.

I am withered and wizened and stiff and old,
Sick and hot, and I sigh for the cold,
For the days when all of the world was fresh
And all of me, my soul and my flesh,--
When my lips and my mouth were cool as the dew,
And my eyes, now worn, as clear, as new.
I wish I were lying out in the rain
In the wood at home, that the waters might strain
And stream through me -- But here I lie
In a clammy room, and my soul is dry,
And shall never be fresh again till I die.

by Thomas MacDonagh.

My Eyes Pour Out Tears

He left me, and himself he departed;
What fault was there in me ?

Neither at night nor in the day do I sleep in peace;
My eyes pour out tears !
Sharper than swords and spears are the arrows of love !
There is no one as cruel as love ;
This malady no physician can cure.
There is no peace, not for a moment,
So intense is the pain of separation !
O Bullah, if the Lord were to shower
His grace, My days would radically change !
He left me, and himself he departed.
What fault was there in me?

by Bulleh Shah.

It Knew No Medicine

559

It knew no Medicine—
It was not Sickness—then—
Nor any need of Surgery—
And therefore—'twas not Pain—

It moved away the Cheeks—
A Dimple at a time—
And left the Profile—plainer—
And in the place of Bloom

It left the little Tint
That never had a Name—
You've seen it on a Cast's face—
Was Paradise—to blame—

If momently ajar—
Temerity—drew near—
And sickened—ever afterward
For Somewhat that it saw?

by Emily Dickinson.

The Bolshie Nurse

He was a man of the union clan
And a Labor secre-tary.
He fell unwell and beneath the spell
Of a little nurse named Mary.
Now, Mary was no little lamb,
And the tenets that he taught her
They turned her head and she voted 'red'
When the mad strike fever caught her.

Then he missed his gruel, and he thought it cruel
That he was so neglected
One winter morn; and, all forlorn,
He rang - and was neglected.
And when she came she said, 'My name
Is henceforth Trotsky Mary.
We've downed thermometers, my friend:
You've won, dear secre-tary!'

by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis.

Autumn ill and adored
You die when the hurricane blows in the roseries
When it has snowed
In the orchard trees
Poor autumn
Dead in whiteness and riches
Of snow and ripe fruits
Deep in the sky
The sparrow hawks cry
Over the sprites with green hair the dwarfs
Who’ve never been loved
In the far tree-lines
the stags are groaning
And how I love O season how I love your rumbling
The falling fruits that no one gathers
The wind the forest that are tumbling
All their tears in autumn leaf by leaf
The leaves
You press
A crowd
That flows
The life
That goes

by Guillaume Apollinaire.

To bear a weight that cannot be borne,
Sisyphus, even you aren't that strong,
Although your heart cannot be torn
Time is short and Art is long.
Far from celebrated sepulchers
Toward a solitary graveyard
My heart, like a drum muffled hard
Beats a funeral march for the ill-starred.

—Many jewels are buried or shrouded
In darkness and oblivion's clouds,
Far from any pick or drill bit,

Many a flower unburdens with regret
Its perfume sweet like a secret;
In profoundly empty solitude to sit.


Translated by William A. Sigler


Submitted by Ryan McGuire

by Charles Baudelaire.

The Fountain Of Blood

A fountain's pulsing sobs--like this my blood
Measures its flowing, so it sometimes seems.
I hear a gentle murmur as it streams;
Where the wound lies I've never understood.

Like water meadows, boulevards are flooded.
Cobblestones, crisscrossed by scarlet rills,
Are islands; creatures come and drink their fill.
Nothing in nature now remains unblooded.

I used to hope that wine could bring me ease,
Could lull asleep my deeply gnawing mind.
I was a fool: the senses clear with wine.

I looked to Love to cure my old disease.
Love led me to a thicket of IVs
Where bristling needles thirsted for each vein.

by Charles Baudelaire.

Thoughts During Sickness

O THOUGHT! O Memory! gems for ever heaping
High in the illumined chambers of the mind,
And thou, divine Imagination! keeping
Thy lamp's lone star 'mid shadowy hosts enshrined;
How in one moment rent and disentwined,
At Fever's fiery touch, apart they fall,
Your glorious combinations!-broken all,
As the sand-pillars by the desert's wind
Scatter'd to whirling dust!-Oh, soon uncrown'd!
Well may your parting swift, your strange return,
Subdue the soul to lowliness profound,
Guiding its chasten'd vision to discern
How by meek Faith Heaven's portals must be pass'd
Ere it can hold your gifts inalienably fast.

by Felicia Dorothea Hemans.

The brooms glow in the desolate moors;
on the ochre hills, the heather sings:
But you cannot heal my sad heart or ease
The memory of my poor dead child.

Come: it is springtime in the valley;
Sweet as her voice, the water whispers in passing,
And clear as her laughter is the growing angelus;
Fresh as her mouth is the wet foam.

I have the fever: Come, close to the rosemary,
Close to this frozen well that gnaws fresh grass;
Come, mourn and die, girl with the serene eyes;

We are tired: I feel the pain of this broken heart,
This dead heart during the month of May,
And this spring that she will never see.

by Francis Jammes.

Sonnet To George Keats: Written In Sickness

Brother belov'd if health shall smile again,
Upon this wasted form and fever'd cheek:
If e'er returning vigour bid these weak
And languid limbs their gladsome strength regain,
Well may thy brow the placid glow retain
Of sweet content and thy pleas'd eye may speak
The conscious self applause, but should I seek
To utter what this heart can feel, Ah! vain
Were the attempt! Yet kindest friends while o'er
My couch ye bend, and watch with tenderness
The being whom your cares could e'en restore,
From the cold grasp of Death, say can you guess
The feelings which these lips can ne'er express;
Feelings, deep fix'd in grateful memory's store.

by John Keats.

Supposed to have been written in America.

ILL-omen'd bird! whose cries portentous float
O'er yon savannah with the mournful wind;
While, as the Indian hears your piercing note,
Dark dread of future evil fills his mind;
Wherefore with early lamentation break
The dear delusive visions of repose?
Why from so short felicity awake
My wounded senses to substantial woes?
O'er my sick soul thus rous'd from transient rest,
Pale Superstition sheds her influence drear,
And to my shuddering fancy would suggest
Thou com'st to speak of ev'ry woe I fear,
Ah! Reason little o'er the soul prevails,
When, from ideal ill, the enfeebled spirit fails!

by Charlotte Smith.

I'M Sick Of Living Mother

I’m sick of living, Mother, sick.
Life and money have run out
But I go on crying “Tara, Tara,”
Hoping. You are the mother of all
And our nurse. You carry the Three Worlds
In Your belly.

So am I some orphan fallen out
Of the sky? And if You think I’m bad,
Remember, You’re the cord connecting
Every good and evil
And I’m a tool tied to illusion.

Your name can blot out fear
Of Death – so Shiva said,
But, Terrible One, You forget all that,
Absorbed in Shiva, Death, and Time.

Prasad says: Your games, Mother,
Are mysteries. You make and break.
You’ve broken me in this life.

[Translated by Leonard Nathan and Clinton Seely]

by Ramprasad Sen.

To “doc” Wylie

THOUGH doctors may your name discard
And say you physicked vilely,
I would I were as good a bard
As you a doctor, Wylie!

How often, when your skill subdued
The fever ranging highly,
You won a bushman’s gratitude,
Though little more, Doc Wylie!

How oft across the regions wide
Where scrub for many a mile lay
The bushman rode, as bushmen ride,
To seek your aid, Doc Wylie!

But now, when bushman’s wife or child
Lies ill and suffering direly,
He’ll need to ride a weary while
Before he finds Doc Wylie.

I hope where they have made your bed,
And where these verses I lay,
They’ll raise a board above your head—
And write your name—Doc Wylie!

by Henry Lawson.

Wert Thou But Ill—that I Might Show Thee

961

Wert Thou but ill—that I might show thee
How long a Day I could endure
Though thine attention stop not on me
Nor the least signal, Me assure—

Wert Thou but Stranger in ungracious country—
And Mine—the Door
Thou paused at, for a passing bounty—
No More—

Accused—wert Thou—and Myself—Tribunal—
Convicted—Sentenced—Ermine—not to Me
Half the Condition, thy Reverse—to follow—
Just to partake—the infamy—

The Tenant of the Narrow Cottage, wert Thou—
Permit to be
The Housewife in thy low attendance
Contenteth Me—

No Service hast Thou, I would not achieve it—
To die—or live—
The first—Sweet, proved I, ere I saw thee—
For Life—be Love—

by Emily Dickinson.

Hymn For A Sick Girl

Father, in the dark I lay,
Thirsting for the light,
Helpless, but for hope alway
In thy father-might.

Out of darkness came the morn,
Out of death came life,
I, and faith, and hope, new-born,
Out of moaning strife!

So, one morning yet more fair,
I shall, joyous-brave,
Sudden breathing loftier air,
Triumph o'er the grave.

Though this feeble body lie
Underneath the ground,
Wide awake, not sleeping, I
Shall in him be found.

But a morn yet fairer must
Quell this inner gloom-
Resurrection from the dust
Of a deeper tomb!

Father, wake thy little child;
Give me bread and wine
Till my spirit undefiled
Rise and live in thine.

by George MacDonald.

Little, perhaps, thou valuest verse of mine—
Little hast read of what my hand has wrought,
Yet I with thy brave memory would entwine
The muse’s amaranths. For thou well hast fought
For freedom; well her sacred lessons taught;
Well baffled wrong; and delved with far design
Into those elements where treasures shine
Excelling those wherewith our hills are fraught.
And when thy glorious grey head shall make
One spot all-hallowed for the coming days—
Tombed in the golden land for whose sole sake
With labour thou hast furrowed all thy ways,—
Well a young nation shall thy worth appraise
Even through the grief which then shall o’er thee break


by Charles Harpur.

Experience is a stern pace-maker, and
'Tis on the road to wisdom, that rough way,
So many fall.
Wrongs unrepented and unpunished breed
More deadly growths of that pernicious seed.
Were all men equal, were all dull or keen,
Ulysses or Ajax had never been.
Even as men shut their doors to unkind airs.
Misery in poverty unpitied fares.
I hate effeminate men, she frowning cried;
And I a mannish woman, he replied.
The one white violet's the innocence
A maid knows not she had — until it's gone.
An unclean thought still like an ulcer eats
The life immortal.
Life at the best is what it makes of hope;
Its use or its abuse is all.
Our sweet sins have their own sour medicine,
And that must cure us.

by Robert Crawford.

WAVING slowly before me, pushed into the dark,
Unseen my hands explore the silence, drawing the bark
Of my body slowly behind.

Nothing to meet my fingers but the fleece of night
Invisible blinding my face and my eyes! What if in their flight
My hands should touch the door!

What if I suddenly stumble, and push the door
Open, and a great grey dawn swirls over my feet, before
I can draw back!

What if unwitting I set the door of eternity wide
And am swept away in the horrible dawn, am gone down the tide
Of eternal hereafter!

Catch my hands, my darling, between your breasts.
Take them away from their venture, before fate wrests
The meaning out of them.

by David Herbert Lawrence.

With Wild Flowers To A Sick Friend

Rise from the dells where ye first were born,
From the tangled beds of the weed and thorn,
Rise! for the dews of the morn are bright,
And haste away with your brows of light.--
--Should the green-house patricians with gathering frown,
On your plebian vestures look haughtily down,
Shrink not,--for His finger your heads hath bow'd,
Who heeds the lowly and humbles the proud.--
--The tardy spring, and the frosty sky,
Have meted your robes with a miser's eye,
And check'd the blush of your blossoms free,--
With a gentler friend your home shall be;
To a kinder ear you may tell your tale
Of the zephyr's kiss and the scented vale;--
Ye are charm'd! ye are charm'd! and your fragrant sigh
Is health to the bosom on which ye die.

by Lydia Huntley Sigourney.

1.

'TWAS so ; I saw thy birth. That drowsy lake
From her faint bosom breath'd thee, the disease
Of her sick waters and infectious ease.
But now at even,
Too gross for heaven,
Thou fall'st in tears, and weep'st for thy mistake.

2.

Ah ! it is so with me : oft have I press'd
Heaven with a lazy breath ; but fruitless this
Pierc'd not ; love only can with quick access
Unlock the way,
When all else stray,
The smoke and exhalations of the breast.


3.

Yet, if as thou dost melt, and with thy train
Of drops make soft the Earth, my eyes could weep
O'er my hard heart, that's bound up and asleep ;
Perhaps at last,
Some such showers past,
My God would give a sunshine after rain.

by Henry Vaughan.

WHO SENT ME FLOWERS, WHEN CONFINED BY
ILLNESS.


WHILE sickness still my step detains
From scenes where vernal pleasure reigns,
Where Spring has bath'd with dewy tear
The blossoms of the op'ning year;
To soothe confinement's languid hours,
You send a lavish gift of flowers,
Midst whose soft odours mem'ry roves
O'er all the images she loves.
Not long their sweetness shall prevail,
Their rosy tints shall soon be pale,

Yet fancy in their fading hues
No emblem of our friendship views;
Its firm fidelity shall last,
When all the flowers of spring are past;
And when life's summer shall be o'er,
That summer which returns no more,
Still friendship, with perennial bloom,
Shall soften half the winter's gloom!

by Helen Maria Williams.

To The Happy Hunting Grounds

Wide windy reaches of high stubble field;
A long gray road, bordered with dusty pines;
A wagon moving in a 'cloud by day.'
Two city sportsmen with a dove between,
Breast-high upon a fence and fast asleep
A solitary dove, the only dove
In twenty counties, and it sick, or else
It were not there. Two guns that fire as one,
With thunder simultaneous and loud;
Two shattered human wrecks of blood and bone!
And later, in the gloaming, comes a man
The worthy local coroner is he,
Renowned all thereabout, and popular
With many a remain. All tenderly
Compiling in a game-bag the debris,
He glides into the gloom and fades from sight.
The dove, cured of its ailment by the shock,
Has flown, meantime, on pinions strong and fleet,
To die of age in some far foreign land.

by Ambrose Bierce.

My impoverished muse, alas! What have you for me this morning?
Your empty eyes are stocked with nocturnal visions,
In your cheek's cold and taciturn reflection,
I see insanity and horror forming.
The green succubus and the red urchin,
Have they poured you fear and love from their urns?
The nightmare of a mutinous fist that despotically turns,
Does it drown you at the bottom of a loch beyond searching?

I wish that your breast exhaled the scent of sanity,
That your womb of thought was not a tomb more frequently
And that your Christian blood flowed around a buoy that was rhythmical,

Like the numberless sounds of antique syllables,
Where reigns in turn the father of songs,
Phoebus, and the great Pan, the harvest sovereign.


Translated by William A. Sigler


Submitted by Ryan McGuire

by Charles Baudelaire.

The Home-Sick Heart



How fondly loves the home-sick heart
To ponder o'er the past,
And pines for scenes then far apart,
To dwell- to die at last;
Though richer vales, and balmier gales,
May tempt the wanderer's stay,
His heart will long to be among
Some scenes far, far away!

O! memory ne'er can charm us so
As when it bids appear
The fields and friends of long ago,
The distant and the dear!
Though clime and care may waste and wear
The frame to dull decay,
They never will through change and chill
The love, far, far away!

Yet there for joy to come relies
the heart when faint and low,
to have some green vale glad our eyes,
Its breeze upon our brow!
Again beneath the sky to breathe,
Where dawn'd life's chequer'd day,
What thoughts will burn- what feelings yearn,
When home is far away!

by John Imlah.

Hezekiah's song; or, Sickness and recovery.

Isa. 38:9ff.

When we are raised from deep distress,
Our God deserves a song;
We take the pattern of our praise
From Hezekiah's tongue.

The gates of the devouring grave
Are opened wide in vain,
If he that holds the keys of death
Commands them fast again.

Pains of the flesh are wont t' abuse
Our minds with slavish fears:
"Our days are past, and we shall lose
The remnant of our years."

We chatter with a swallow's voice,
Or like a dove we mourn,
With bitterness instead of joys,
Afflicted and forlorn.

Jehovah speaks the healing word,
And no disease withstands;
Fevers and plagues obey the Lord,
And fly at his commands.

If half the strings of life should break,
He can our frame restore;
He casts our sins behind his back,
And they are found no more.

by Isaac Watts.

Physician of my sin-sick soul,
To thee I bring my case;
My raging malady control,
And heal me by thy grace.

Pity the anguish I endure,
See how I mourn and pine;
For never can I hope a cure
From any hand but thine.

I would disclose my whole complaint,
But where shall I begin?
No words of mine can fully paint
That worst distemper, sin.

It lies not in a single part,
But through my frame is spread;
A burning fever in my heart,
A palsy in my head.

It makes me deaf, and dumb, and blind,
And impotent and lame;
And overclouds, and fills my mind,
With folly, fear, and shame.

A thousand evil thoughts intrude
Tumultuous in my breast;
Which indispose me for my food,
And rob me of my rest.

Lord I am sick, regard my cry,
And set my spirit free;
Say, canst thou let a sinner die,
Who longs to live to thee?

by John Newton.

Come unto me, the Master says:-
But how? I am not good;
No thankful song my heart will raise,
Nor even wish it could.

I am not sorry for the past,
Nor able not to sin;
The weary strife would ever last
If once I should begin!

Hast thou no burden then to bear?
No action to repent?
Is all around so very fair?
Is thy heart quite content?

Hast thou no sickness in thy soul?
No labour to endure?
Then go in peace, for thou art whole;
Thou needest not his cure.

Ah, mock me not! I often sigh;
I have a nameless grief,
A faint sad pain-but such that I
Can look for no relief.

Come, come to him who made thy heart;
Come weary and oppressed;
To come to Jesus is thy part,
His part to give thee rest.

New grief, new hope he will bestow,
Thy grief and pain to quell;
Into thy heart himself will go,
And that will make thee well.

by George MacDonald.

Threatening Signs

IF Venus in the evening sky
Is seen in radiant majesty,
If rod-like comets, red as blood,
Are 'mongst the constellations view'd,
Out springs the Ignoramus, yelling:
"The star's exactly o'er my dwelling!
What woeful prospect, ah, for me!
Then calls his neighbour mournfully:
"Behold that awful sign of evil,
Portending woe to me, poor devil!
My mother's asthma ne'er will leave her,
My child is sick with wind and fever;
I dread the illness of my wife,
A week has pass'd, devoid of strife,--
And other things have reach'd my ear;
The Judgment Day has come, I fear!"

His neighbour answered: "Friend, you're right!
Matters look very had to-night.
Let's go a street or two, though, hence,
And gaze upon the stars from thence."--
No change appears in either case.
Let each remain then in his place,
And wisely do the best he can,
Patient as any other man.

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Kleitos' Illness

Kleitos, a likeable young man,
about twenty-three years old
with a first-class education, a rare knowledge of Greek
is seriously ill. He caught the fever
that reaped a harvest this year in Alexandria.
The fever found him already worn out morally
by the pain of knowing that his friend, a young actor,
had stopped loving and wanting him.
He's seriously ill, and his parents are terribly worried.
An old servant who brought him up
is also full of fear for Kleitos' life;
and in her panic
she remembers an idol she used to worship
when she was young, before she came there as a maid,
to the house of distinguished Christians, and turned Christian
herself.
She secretly brings some votive bread, some wine and honey,
and places them before the idol. She chants whatever phrases
she remembers from old prayers: odds and ends. The ninny
doesn't realize that the black demon couldn't care less
whether a Christian gets well or not.

by Constantine P. Cavafy.