A Pause for Elizabeth

Amid my frolic here I wish to pause and offer something to my friends who grieve the loss of a friend. When Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote this, I believe that she wrote a last line that is one of the greatest in English poetry:

 

Grief

 

I tell you hopeless grief is passionless;

That only men incredulous of despair,

Half-taught in anguish, through the midnight air

Beat upward to God’s throne in loud access

Of shrieking and reproach. Full desertness,

In souls as countries, lieth silent-bare

Under the blanching, vertical eye-glare

Of the absolute Heavens. Deep-hearted men express

Grief for thy Dead in silence like Death–

Most like a monumental statue set

In everlasting watch and moveless woe

Till itself crumble to the dust beneath.

Touch it; the marble eyelids are not wet.

If it could weep, it could arise and go.

 

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