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About this Poem 

“A Fixed Idea” was first published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1910, then published in Lowell’s collection A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass (Houghton Mifflin, 1912). 

A Fixed Idea

What torture lurks within a single thought
When grown too constant; and however kind,
However welcome still, the weary mind
Aches with its presence. Dull remembrance taught
Remembers on unceasingly; unsought
The old delight is with us but to find
That all recurring joy is pain refined,
Become a habit, and we struggle, caught.
You lie upon my heart as on a nest,
Folded in peace, for you can never know
How crushed I am with having you at rest
Heavy upon my life. I love you so
You bind my freedom from its rightful quest.
In mercy lift your drooping wings and go.

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Amy Lowell

Amy Lowell

Born in 1874, Amy Lowell was deeply interested in and influenced by the Imagist movement and she received the Pulitzer Prize for her collection What's O'Clock

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In the cloud-grey mornings
I heard the herons flying;
And when I came into my garden,
My silken outer-garment
Trailed over withered leaves.
A dried leaf crumbles at a touch,
But I have seen many Autumns
With herons blowing like smoke
Across the sky.

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 ’T is you that are the music, not your song.
  The song is but a door which, opening wide,
  Lets forth the pent-up melody inside,
Your spirit’s harmony, which clear and strong
Sing but of you. Throughout your whole life long
  Your songs, your thoughts, your doings, each divide
 

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They have watered the street,
It shines in the glare of lamps, 
Cold, white lamps, 
And lies
Like a slow-moving river,
Barred with silver and black.
Cabs go down it,
One,
And then another,
Between them I hear the shuffling of feet.
Tramps doze on the window-