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View Diary: Books That Changed My Life--What Is Your Favorite Poem About Death? (94 comments)

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  •  When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d (13+ / 0-)

    A portion from the beginning of Whitman's remembrance of Lincoln,  

    When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
    And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
    I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

    Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
    Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
    And thought of him I love.

    O powerful western fallen star!
    O shades of night—O moody, tearful night!
    O great star disappear’d—O the black murk that hides the star!
    O cruel hands that hold me powerless—O helpless soul of me!
    O harsh surrounding cloud that will not free my soul.

    In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings,
    Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
    With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
    With every leaf a miracle—and from this bush in the dooryard,
    With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
    A sprig with its flower I break.

    In the swamp in secluded recesses,
    A shy and hidden bird is warbling a song.

    Solitary the thrush,
    The hermit withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements,
    Sings by himself a song.

    Song of the bleeding throat,
    Death’s outlet song of life, (for well dear brother I know,
    If thou wast not granted to sing thou would’st surely die.)

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