PENALTY

Because of the fullness of what I had
    All that I have seems poor and vain.
If I had not been happy, I were not sad,
    Though my salt is savorless, why complain?

From the ripe perfection of what was mine,
    All that is mine seems worse than naught.
Yet I know as I sit in the dark and pine,
    No cup could be drained which had not been fraught.

From the throb, and thrill, of a day that was,
    The day that now is seems dull with gloom.
Yet I bear the dullness and darkness because
    'Tis but the reaction of glow and bloom.

From the royal feasts which of old was spread
    I am starved on the diet that now is mine;
Yet I could not turn hungry from water and bread,
    If I had not been sated on fruit and wine.

Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler
Chicago : Belford, Clarke & Co, 1883.


Back to Poem Index