By Jones Very 1813–1880 Jones Very
’Tis to yourself I speak; you cannot know
Him whom I call in speaking such an one,
For thou beneath the earth lie buried low,
Which he alone as living walks upon;
Thou mayst at times have heard him speak to you,
And often wished perchance that you were he;
And I must ever wish that it were true,
For then thou couldst hold fellowship with me;
But now thou hear’st us talk as strangers, met
Above the room wherein thou liest abed;
A word perhaps loud spoken thou mayst get,
Or hear our feet when heavily they tread;
But he who speaks, or him who’s spoken to,
Must both remain as strangers still to you.

Source: Poets of the English Language (Viking Press, 1950)

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Poet Jones Very 1813–1880

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Jones  Very


Though Jones Very was a minor figure in Transcendentalist circles, his poetry and criticism were highly regarded by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, and the pioneering educator Elizabeth Palmer Peabody. His close study of Shakespeare led him to write almost exclusively in Shakespearian sonnets, and his sequences on religion and nature gained recognition for their graceful lyricism. However, Very’s intense religious devotion . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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