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Christina Rossetti: Heart's Chill Between

Heart's Chill Between

October 21, 1848

I did not chide him, though I knew
That he was false to me.
Chide the exhaling of the dew,
The ebbing of the sea,
The fading of a rosy hue,—
But not inconstancy.
Why strive for love when love is o'er?
Why bind a restive heart?—
He never knew the pain I bore
In saying: 'We must part;
Let us be friends and nothing more.'
--Oh, woman's shallow art!
But it is over, it is done,—
I hardly heed it now;
So many weary years have run
Since then, I think not how
Things might have been,—but greet each one
With an unruffled brow.
What time I am where others be,
My heart seems very calm—
Stone calm; but if all go from me,
There comes a vague alarm,
A shrinking in the memory
From some forgotten harm.
And often through the long, long night,
Waking when none are near,
I feel my heart beat fast with fright,
Yet know not what I fear.
Oh how I long to see the light,
And the sweet birds to hear!
To have the sun upon my face,
To look up through the trees,
To walk forth in the open space
And listen to the breeze,—
And not to dream the burial-place
Is clogging my weak knees.
Sometimes I can nor weep nor pray,
But am half stupefied:
And then all those who see me say
Mine eyes are opened wide
And that my wits seem gone away—
Ah, would that I had died!
Would I could die and be at peace,
Or living could forget!
My grief nor grows nor doth decrease,
But ever is:--and yet
Methinks, now, that all this shall cease
Before the sun shall set.