Young in New Orleans

starving there, sitting around the bars,
and at night walking the streets for
hours,
the moonlight always seemed fake
to me, maybe it was,
and in the French Quarter I watched
the horses and buggies going by,
everybody sitting high in the open
carriages, the black driver, and in
back the man and the woman,
usually young and always white.
and I was always white.
and hardly charmed by the
world.
New Orleans was a place to
hide.
I could piss away my life,
unmolested.


You Smile Upon Your Friend To-Day

You smile upon your friend to-day,
To-day his ills are over;
You hearken to the lover's say,
And happy is the lover.

'Tis late to hearken, late to smile,
But better late than never;
I shall have lived a little while
Before I die for ever.


You know what I mean

I’VE noticed this happen, when everything is black,
When I’m down below zero and cannot get back,
When I feel like a sort of a National Debt,
That will go on for ages and never be met,
When my will is all bagged at the knees and dead beat,
It is then, don’t you know, that., I’m certain to meet
With some prodigal lifeless dejected old bean,
Who is worse off than I you know what I mean.
Someone or other who’s entered the race,
With a sense of intention but can’t stay the pace,
He tells all his troubles and heaven knows what,


You

Only a long, low-lying lane
That follows to the misty sea,
Across a bare and russet plain
Where wild winds whistle vagrantly;
I know that many a fairer path
With lure of song and bloom may woo,
But oh ! I love this lonely strath
Because it is so full of you.

Here we have walked in elder years,
And here your truest memories wait,
This spot is sacred to your tears,
That to your laughter dedicate;
Here, by this turn, you gave to me
A gem of thought that glitters yet,
This tawny slope is graciously


XXXIV

With the same heart, I said, I'll answer thee
As those, when thou shalt call me by my name--
Lo, the vain promise ! is the same, the same,
Perplexed and ruffled by life's strategy ?
When called before, I told how hastily
I dropped my flowers or brake off from a game,
To run and answer with the smile that came
At play last moment, and went on with me
Through my obedience. When I answer now,
I drop a grave thought, break from solitude;
Yet still my heart goes to thee--ponder how--


XL

Oh, yes ! they love through all this world of ours !
I will not gainsay love, called love forsooth.
I have heard love talked in my early youth,
And since, not so long back but that the flowers
Then gathered, smell still. Mussulmans and Giaours
Throw kerchiefs at a smile, and have no ruth
For any weeping. Polypheme's white tooth
Slips on the nut if, after frequent showers,
The shell is over-smooth,--and not so much
Will turn the thing called love, aside to hate
Or else to oblivion. But thou art not such


Worms

Worms finer for fishing you couldn't be wishing;
I delved them dismayed from the velvety sod;
The rich loam upturning I gathered them squirming,
big, fat, gleamy earthworms, all ripe for my rod.
Thinks I, without waiting, my hook I'll be baiting,
And flip me a fish from the foam of the pool;
Then Mother beholding, came crying and scolding:
"You're late, ye young devil! Be off to the school."
So grabbing me bait-tin I dropped them fat worms in,
With globs of green turf for their comfort and cheer;


Worth While

It is easy enough to be pleasant,
When life flows by like a song,
But the man worth while is one who will smile,
When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble,
And it always comes with the years,
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth
Is the smile that shines through tears.

It is easy enough to be prudent,
When nothing tempts you to stray,
When without or within no voice of sin
Is luring your soul away;
But it's only a negative virtue


Written in Northampton County Asylum

I am! yet what I am who cares, or knows?
My friends forsake me like a memory lost.
I am the self-consumer of my woes;
They rise and vanish, an oblivious host,
Shadows of life, whose very soul is lost.
And yet I am—I live—though I am toss’d

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dream,
Where there is neither sense of life, nor joys,
But the huge shipwreck of my own esteem
And all that’s dear. Even those I loved the best
Are strange—nay, they are stranger than the rest.


Wreath the Bowl

Wreath the bowl
With flowers of soul,
The brightest Wit can find us,
We'll take a flight
Towards heaven to-night,
And leave dull earth behind us.
Should Love amid
The wreaths be hid
That Joy, the enchanter, brings us,
No danger fear,
While wine is near --
We'll drown him if he stings us.
Then, wreath the bowl
With flowers of soul,
The brightest Wit can find us.
We'll take a flight
Towards heaven to-night,
And leave dull earth behind us.

'Twas nectar fed


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