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About this Poem 

“The Thaw” was first published in Thoreau’s Poems of Nature (Houghton Mifflin & Co., 1895).

The Thaw

I saw the civil sun drying earth’s tears —
Her tears of joy that only faster flowed,

Fain would I stretch me by the highway side,
To thaw and trickle with the melting snow,
That mingled soul and body with the tide,
I too may through the pores of nature flow.

But I alas nor tinkle can nor fume,
One jot to forward the great work of Time,
‘Tis mine to hearken while these ply the loom,
So shall my silence with their music chime.

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau

Although he thought of himself as a poet, Henry David Thoreau's most defining work was his book, Walden.

by this poet

Whate'er we leave to God, God does, 
And blesses us; 
The work we choose should be our own, 
God leaves alone.
If with light head erect I sing, 
Though all the Muses lend their force, 
From my poor love of anything, 
The verse is weak and shallow as its source. 

But if with bended neck I grope 

Within the circuit of this plodding life,
There enter moments of an azure hue,
Untarnished fair as is the violet
Or anemone, when the spring strews them
By some meandering rivulet, which make
The best philosophy untrue that aims
But to console man for his grievances.
I have


My life has been the poem I would have writ
But I could not both live and utter it.