I Am a Parcel of Vain Strivings Tied

By Henry David Thoreau 1817–1862 Henry David Thoreau
I am a parcel of vain strivings tied
            By a chance bond together,
Dangling this way and that, their links
            Were made so loose and wide,
                     For milder weather.

A bunch of violets without their roots,
            And sorrel intermixed,
Encircled by a wisp of straw
            Once coiled about their shoots,
                                        The law
                     By which I'm fixed.

A nosegay which Time clutched from out
            Those fair Elysian fields,
With weeds and broken stems, in haste,
            Doth make the rabble rout
                                        That waste
                     The day he yields.

And here I bloom for a short hour unseen,
            Drinking my juices up,
With no root in the land
            To keep my branches green,
                                        But stand
                     In a bare cup.

Some tender buds were left upon my stem
            In mimicry of life,
But ah! the children will not know,
            Till time has withered them,
                                        The woe
                     With which they're rife.

But now I see I was not plucked for naught,
            And after in life's vase
Of glass set while I might survive,
            But by a kind hand brought
                     To a strange place.

That stock thus thinned will soon redeem its hours,
            And by another year,
Such as God knows, with freer air,
            More fruits and fairer flowers
                                        Will bear,
                     While I droop here.

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Poet Henry David Thoreau 1817–1862

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Nature, Trees & Flowers

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Henry  David Thoreau


Though not a professional philosopher, Henry David Thoreau is recognized as an important contributor to the American literary and philosophical movement known as New England Transcendentalism. His essays, books, and poems weave together two central themes over the course of his intellectual career: nature and the conduct of life. The continuing importance of these two themes is well illustrated by the fact that the last two . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Trees & Flowers

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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