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Short poem

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)


              1  They bade me cast the thing away,
              2They pointed to my hands all bleeding,
              3They listened not to all my pleading;
              4  The thing I meant I could not say;
              5  I knew that I should rue the day
              6  If once I cast that thing away.

              7  I grasped it firm, and bore the pain;
              8The thorny husks I stripped and scattered;
              9If I could reach its heart, what mattered
            10  If other men saw not my gain,
            11  Or even if I should be slain?
            12  I knew the risks; I chose the pain.

            13  O, had I cast that thing away,
            14I had not found what most I cherish,
            15A faith without which I should perish,--
            16  The faith which, like a kernel, lay
            17  Hid in the husks which on that day
            18  My instinct would not throw away!

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Helen Jackson, Poems (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1892), p. 141. PS 2107 P6 1892 ROBA
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/8

Rhyme: abbaaa cddccc aeeaaa

Other poems by Helen Hunt Jackson