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Christina Rossetti: Memory

Memory

I
I nursed it in my bosom while it lived,
I hid it in my heart when it was dead;
In joy I sat alone, even so I grieved
Alone and nothing said.
I shut the door to face the naked truth,
I stood alone—I faced the truth alone,
Stripped bare of self-regard or forms or ruth
Till first and last were shown.
I took the perfect balances and weighed;
No shaking of my hand disturbed the poise;
Weighed, found it wanting: not a word I said,
But silent made my choice.
None know the choice I made; I make it still.
None know the choice I made and broke my heart,
Breaking mine idol: I have braced my will
Once, chosen for once my part.
I broke it at a blow, I laid it cold,
Crushed in my deep heart where it used to live.
My heart dies inch by inch; the time grows old,
Grows old in which I grieve.
II
I have a room whereinto no one enters
Save I myself alone:
There sits a blessed memory on a throne,
There my life centres.
While winter comes and goes—oh tedious comer!—
And while its nip-wind blows;
While bloom the bloodless lily and warm rose
Of lavish summer.
If any should force entrance he might see there
One buried yet not dead,
Before whose face I no more bow my head
Or bend my knee there;
But often in my worn life's autumn weather
I watch there with clear eyes,
And think how it will be in Paradise
When we're together.