My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes and oh, my friends---
It gives a lovely light.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
“The Slave Mother”
“Let the Light Enter”
Source: The Heart of a Woman and Other Poems (The Cornhill Company, 1918)
Don’t knock at the door, little child, I cannot let you in, You know not what a world this is Of cruelty and sin. Wait in the still eternity Until I come to you, The world is cruel, cruel, child, I cannot let you in! Don’t knock at my heart, little one, I cannot bear the pain Of turning deaf-ear to your call Time and time again! You do not know the monster men Inhabiting the earth, Be still, be still, my precious child, I must not give you birth!