The Thread of Life

Christina Rossetti

 
1
The irresponsive silence of the land,
The irresponsive sounding of the sea,
Speak both one message of one sense to me: —
Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand
Thou too aloof bound with the flawless band
Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
But who from thy self—chain shall set thee free?
What heart shall touch thy heart? what hand thy hand?—
And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,
And sometimes I remember days of old
When fellowship seemed not so far to seek
And all the world and I seemed much less cold,
And at the rainbow's foot lay surely gold,
And hope felt strong and life itself not weak.
2
Thus am I mine own prison. Everything
Around me free and sunny and at ease:
Or if in shadow, in a shade of trees
Which the sun kisses, where the gay birds sing
And where all winds make various murmuring;
Where bees are found, with honey for the bees;
Where sounds are music, and where silences
Are music of an unlike fashioning.
Then gaze I at the merrymaking crew,
And smile a moment and a moment sigh
Thinking: Why can I not rejoice with you ?
But soon I put the foolish fancy by:
I am not what I have nor what I do;
But what I was I am, I am even I.
3
Therefore myself is that one only thing
I hold to use or waste, to keep or give;
My sole possession every day I live,
And still mine own despite Time's winnowing.
Ever mine own, while moons and seasons bring
From crudeness ripeness mellow and sanative;
Ever mine own, till Death shall ply his sieve;
And still mine own, when saints break grave and sing.
And this myself as king unto my King
I give, to Him Who gave Himself for me;
Who gives Himself to me, and bids me sing
A sweet new song of His redeemed set free;
He bids me sing: O death, where is thy sting?
And sing: O grave, where is thy victory?
 

Poems by This Author

Monna Innominata [I dream of you, to wake] by Christina Rossetti
I dream of you, to wake: would that I might
Monna Innominata [I loved you first] by Christina Rossetti
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Monna Innominata [I wish I could remember] by Christina Rossetti
I wish I could remember that first day
A Bird Song by Christina Rossetti
A Birthday by Christina Rossetti
My heart is like a singing bird
A Christmas Carol by Christina Rossetti
In The bleak mid-winter
An Apple Gathering by Christina Rossetti
I plucked pink blossoms from mine apple-tree
Clouds by Christina Rossetti
White sheep, white sheep
Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti
Morning and evening
Holy Innocents by Christina Rossetti
Sleep, little Baby, sleep
Remember by Christina Rossetti
Remember me when I am gone away,
Song ["When I am dead, my dearest"] by Christina Rossetti
When I am dead, my dearest,
To My Mother by Christina Rossetti
To-day's your natal day
Up-Hill by Christina Rossetti
Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Who Has Seen the Wind? by Christina Rossetti
Who has seen the wind?
Winter: My Secret. by Christina Rossetti
I tell my secret? No indeed, not I
[Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome] by Christina Rossetti
Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome


Further Reading

Related Poems
Thread
by Dan Chiasson