A Reverie ["Those hearts of ours -- how strange! how strange!"]

A poem by Abram Joseph Ryan

Those hearts of ours -- how strange! how strange!
How they yearn to ramble and love to range
Down through the vales of the years long gone,
Up through the future that fast rolls on.

To-days are dull -- so they wend their ways
Back to their beautiful yesterdays;
The present is blank -- so they wing their flight
To future to-morrows where all seems bright.

Build them a bright and beautiful home,
They'll soon grow weary and want to roam;
Find them a spot without sorrow or pain,
They may stay a day, but they're off again.

Those hearts of ours -- how wild! how wild!
They're as hard to tame as an Indian child;
They're as restless as waves on the sounding sea,
Like the breeze and the bird are they fickle and free.

Those hearts of ours -- how lone! how lone!
Ever, forever, they mourn and moan;
Let them revel in joy, let them riot in cheer;
The revelry o'er, they're all the more drear.

Those hearts of ours -- how warm! how warm!
Like the sun's bright rays, like the Summer's charm;
How they beam and burn! how they gleam and glow
Their flash and flame hide but ashes below.

Those hearts of ours -- how cold! how cold!
Like December's snow on the waste or wold;
And though our Decembers melt soon into May,
Hearts know Decembers that pass not away.

Those hearts of ours -- how deep! how deep!
You may sound the sea where the corals sleep,
Where never a billow hath rumbled or rolled --
Depths still the deeper our hearts hide and hold.

Where the wild storm's tramp hath ne'er been known
The wrecks of the sea lie low and lone;
Thus the heart's surface may sparkle and glow,
There are wrecks far down -- there are graves below.

Those hearts of ours -- but, after all,
How shallow and narrow, how tiny and small;
Like scantiest streamlet or Summer's least rill,
They're as easy to empty -- as easy to fill.

One hour of storm and how the streams pour!
One hour of sun and the streams are no more;
One little grief -- how the tears gush and glide!
One smile -- flow they ever so fast, they are dried.

Those hearts of ours -- how wise! how wise!
They can lift their thoughts till they touch the skies;
They can sink their shafts, like a miner bold,
Where wisdom's mines hide their pearls and gold.

Aloft they soar with undazzled gaze,
Where the halls of the Day-King burn and blaze;
Or they fly with a wing that will never fail,
O'er the sky's dark sea where the star-ships sail.

Those hearts of ours -- what fools! what fools!
How they laugh at wisdom, her cant and rules!
How they waste their powers, and, when wasted, grieve
For what they have squandered, but cannot retrieve.

Those hearts of ours -- how strong! how strong!
Let a thousand sorrows around them throng,
They can bear them all, and a thousand more,
And they're stronger then than they were before.

Those hearts of ours -- how weak! how weak!
But a single word of unkindness speak,
Like a poisoned shaft, like a viper's fang,
That one slight word leaves a life-long pang.

Those hearts of ours -- but I've said enough,
As I find that my rhyme grows rude and rough;
I'll rest me now, but I'll come again
Some other day, to resume my strain.

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