I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, Eyes-
I wonder if It weighs like Mine-
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long-
Or did it just begin-
I could not tell the Date of Mine-
It feels so old a pain-

I wonder if it hurts to live-
And if They have to try-
And whether-could They choose between-
It would not be-to die-

I note that Some-gone patient long-
At length, renew their smile-
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil-

I wonder if when Years have piled-
Some Thousands-on the Harm-
That hurt them early-such a lapse
Could give them any Balm-

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve-
Enlightened to a larger Pain-
In Contrast with the Love-

The Grieved-are many-I am told-
There is the various Cause-
Death-is but one-and comes but once-
And only nails the eyes-

There's Grief of Want-and Grief of Cold-
A sort they call “Despair”-
There's Banishment from native Eyes-
In sight of Native Air-

And though I may not guess the kind-
Correctly-yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary-

To note the fashions-of the Cross-
And how they're mostly worn-
Still fascinated to presume
That Some-are like My Own-