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Paralysis
by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

For moveless limbs no pity I crave,
   That never were swift! Still all I prize,
Laughter and thought and friends, I have;
   No fool to heave luxurious sighs
For the woods and hills that I never knew.
The more excellent way's yet mine! And you

Flower-laden come to the clean white cell,
   And we talk as ever---am I not the same?
With our hearts we love, immutable,
   You without pity, I without shame.
We talk as of old; as of old you go
Out under the sky, and laughing, I know,

Flit through the streets, your heart all me;
   Till you gain the world beyond the town.
Then---I fade from your heart, quietly;
   And your fleet steps quicken. The strong down
Smiles you welcome there; the woods that love you
Close lovely and conquering arms above you.

O ever-moving, O lithe and free!
   Fast in my linen prison I press
On impassable bars, or emptily
   Laugh in my great loneliness.
And still in the white neat bed I strive
Most impotently against that gyve;
Being less now than a thought, even,
To you alone with your hills and heaven.

 

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