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Poems

J258

There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons -
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes -

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us -
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are -

None may teach it - Any -
'Tis the Seal Despair -
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air -

When it comes, the Landscape listens -
Shadows - hold their breath -
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death -

c. 1861                        1890

 

If in J214 the perception of natural phenomena produces inebriation, here it produces a sense of despair and a recognition of death. The key difference between the two poems is that J258 includes the element of time. In other respects, it follows the traditional Romantic pattern, beginning with an emotional response to one aspect of the natural world and ending in a clarification of the poet's resulting feelings.