Alas, Kind Element!

By Léonie Adams 1899–1988 Leonie Adams
Then I was sealed, and like the wintering tree   
I stood me locked upon a summer core;
Living, had died a death, and asked no more.   
And I lived then, but as enduringly,
And my heart beat, but only as to be.
Ill weathers well, hail, gust and cold I bore,   
I held my life as hid, at root, in store:
Thus I lived then, till this air breathed on me.   
Till this kind air breathed kindness everywhere,   
There where my times had left me I would stay.   
Then I was staunch, I knew nor yes nor no;
But now the wishful leaves have thronged the air.   
My every leaf leans forth upon the day;
Alas, kind element! which comes to go.

Léonie Adams, “Alas, Kind Element!” from Poems: A Selection (New York: The Noonday Press, 1959). Used by permission of Judith Farr, Literary Executrix of the Estate of Léonie Adams.

Source: Poems: A Selection (1959)

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Poet Léonie Adams 1899–1988

Subjects Nature, Winter, Living, Summer, Trees & Flowers, Fall, Sorrow & Grieving

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Biography

An educator, consultant, editor, and poet, Leonie Adams was best known for her lyric poetry reminiscent of both the Romantic and Metaphysical periods. Her poetry won her several awards, including the Harriet Monroe Poetry Award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Bollingen Prize. She served in editorial capacities for both Wilson Publishing and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City during the 1920s and later taught . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Winter, Living, Summer, Trees & Flowers, Fall, Sorrow & Grieving

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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