We meet our griefs again when work is through

and do with words what little words can do.

A stranger weeps beside us through the night.

Beneath our pleasant sun, we never knew

the dark that hates the sky for being bright.

We thought to build a garden without rue,

to climb and, all-beloved, to reach the height.

Our sins were trifling, the false called true,

a petty disbelief in wrong and right.

For every sin we pay, but no sin drew

these hates. It is our virtue they requite.

Along the shore, the squabbling seabirds mew

at passing ships and wheel away in fright.

We meet our griefs again when work is through.

We do with words what little words can do.


Articles by Joseph Bottum

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