I wonder if it hurts to live,
And if they have to try,
And whether, could they choose between,
They would not rather die.
I wonder if when years have piled—
Some thousands—on the cause
Of early hurt, if such a lapse
Could give them any pause;
Or would they go on aching still
Through centuries above,
Enlightened to a larger pain
By contrast with the love.
The grieved are many, I am told;
The reason deeper lies,—
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,