If I have wished for skies unscarred by storm,
Shrunk from the grievous bitterness of things,
The days’ perplexities, the nights’ unrest,
The cruel, fruitless beating with clipped wings
Against the windows of the Infinite,
And, weary with the conflict’s puerile stress,
Cried out against it all, cried out for peace,
Even what peace the rotting dead possess,
May Life forgive me: I am stronger now,
The play bewilders, but I know my part;
And I have learned that Beauty is salt blood
Pain-wrung from the unconquerable heart.
Let there be laughter then, love’s wine and bread,
The many mouths of passion, their joys, their grief;
These are but soil and seed—for what grave growths?
I plant and wait, (and pray the time be brief!)
Lean wisdom this, to pause and taste and pause
Like a scared virgin who must stop for breath.
Take the cup simply, drain it to the lees;
Then, smiling, fling the empty cup to Death.