Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Sic Vita

I am a parcel of vain strivings tied
          By a chance bond together,
     Dangling this way and that, their links
          Were made so loose and wide,
               For milder weather.

A bunch of violets without their roots,
          And sorrel intermixed,
     Encircled by a wisp of straw
          Once coiled about their shoots,
                    The law
               By which I'm fixed.

A nosegay which Time clutched from out
          Those fair Elysian fields,
     With weeds and broken stems, in haste,
          Doth make the rabble rout
                    That waste
               The day he yields.

And here I bloom for a short hour unseen,
          Drinking my juices up,
     Which have no root in the land
          To keep my branches green,
                    But stand
               In a bare cup.

Some tender buds were left upon my stem
          In mimicry of life,
     But ah! the children will not know
          Till time has withered them,
                    The woe
               With which they’re rife.

But now I see I was not plucked for nought,
          And after in life’s vase
     Of glass set while I might survive,
          But by a kind hand brought
               To a strange place.

That stock thus thinned will soon redeem its hours,
          And by another year
     Such as God knows, with freer air,
          More fruits and fairer flowers
                    Will bear,
               While I droop here.