Two evils, monstrous either one apart,
Possessed me, and were long and loath at going:
A cry of Absence, Absence, in the heart,
And in the wood the furious winter blowing.

Think not, when fire was bright upon my bricks
And past the tight boards hardly a wind could enter,
I glowed like them, the simple burning sticks,
Far from my cause, my proper heat, my center.

Better to walk forth in the murderous air
And wash my wound in the snows; that would be healing,
Because my heart would throb less painful there,
Being caked with cold, and past the smart of feeling.

Which would you choose, and for what boot in gold,
The absence, or the absence and the cold?

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on January 8, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

Chilled into a serenity
As rigid as your pose
You linger trustingly,
But a gutter waits for you.
Your elegance does not secure
You favors with the sun.
He is not one to pity fragileness.
He thinks all cheeks should burn
And feel how tears can run.

From Caroling Dusk (Harper & Brothers, 1927), edited by Countee Cullen. This poem is in the public domain.