Sic Vita

‘It is but thin soil where we stand; I have felt my roots in a richer ere this. I have seen a bunch of violets in a glass vase, tied loosely with a straw, which reminded me of myself.’—The Week.

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 nought,
   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.


This poem is in the public domain.