Both fear and time long since in school have seeped,
To lurk in purely hollow things, undeep;
O solitude, O irksomely spent time.
And then they're outside: streets will sparge and chime,
And on the squares fair fountains leap and climb,
And in the gardens now our world grows wide;
And through that all, in tiny dresses tied,
So different from the others going, gone:
O wondrous time, O time to spend as one;
O solitude, O woe sublime.
And in all that, so far ahead to sight:
Where men and women, men, men, women loom,
And children, different and brightly hewn;
And there's a house, and now and then a hound,
And horror shifts to trust without a sound:
O mourning without sense, O dream, O fright,
O bottomless abyss of night.
And playing thus: with ball and ring and tire
Within a gently fading garden kept,
And sometimes brushing by adults to race,
Imbruted and so blind in hare-like haste;
Yet quiet evenings come in slight, stiff steps,
Back to the house, held firmly, to retire:
O ever-fleeting understanding – wait.
O fear, O burden great.
And hours spent beside the great gray pond,
There kneeling near a sailing ship so small;
Forgetting as still others, like ones, crawl,
If comelier in sail, across the rings,
And forced about that small pale face to think,
As it resurfaces on water's bond:
O childhood, O misled comparison:
O wither then, O wither then?