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A Parcel of Vain Strivings Tied

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January 3, 2013 in Offbeat


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,
        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
        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.


        ~ Henry David Thoreau, 1841

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3 responses to A Parcel of Vain Strivings Tied

  1. Nice. Poetry lives.

  2. And yet the writings of the past
            echo my thoughts,
    as if the present were not
            but are yet becoming
                    an edict
            of His will.

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