Lizette Woodworth Reese (1856-1935)

"Contributor to Magazines." (Sharp)

return to sonnet central return to 19th century Americans

Tell Me Some Way

Oh, you who love me not, tell me some way
Whereby I may forget you for a space;
Nay, clean forget you and your lovely face--
Yet well I know how vain this prayer I pray.
All weathers hold you. Can I make the May
Forbid her boughs blow white in every place?
Or rob June of her rose that comes apace?
Cheat of their charm the elder months and gray?
Aye, were you dead, you could not be forgot;
So sparse the bloom along the lanes would be;
Such sweetness out the briery hedges fled;
My tears would fall that you had loved me not;
And bitterer tears that you had gone from me;
Living you break my heart, so would you dead!

(Above text from American Sonnets)


When I consider Life and its few years --
A wisp of fog betwixt us and the sun;
A call to battle, and the battle done
Ere the last echo dies within our ears;
A rose choked in the grass; an hour of fears;
The gusts that past a darkening shore do beat;
The burst of music down an unlistening street,--
I wonder at the idleness of tears.

Ye old, old dead, and ye of yesternight
Chieftains, and bards, and keepers of the sheep
By every cup of sorrow that you had,
Loose me from tears, and make me see aright
How each hath back at once he stayed to weep:
Homer his sight, David his little lad!