Christina Rossetti: Poems



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; 10

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. 20


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, 30

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.