Only a Curl.

I.
 FRIENDS of faces unknown and a land
  Unvisited over the sea,
 Who tell me how lonely you stand
 With a single gold curl in the hand
  Held up to be looked at by me, --

II.
 While you ask me to ponder and say
  What a father and mother can do,
 With the bright fellow-locks put away
 Out of reach, beyond kiss, in the clay
  Where the violets press nearer than you.

III.
Shall I speak like a poet, or run
  Into weak woman's tears for relief ?
Oh, children ! -- I never lost one, --
Yet my arm 's round my own little son,
  And Love knows the secret of Grief.

IV.
And I feel what it must be and is,
  When God draws a new angel so
Through the house of a man up to His,
With a murmur of music, you miss,
  And a rapture of light, you forgo.

V.
How you think, staring on at the door,
  Where the face of your angel flashed in,
That its brightness, familiar before,
Burns off from you ever the more
  For the dark of your sorrow and sin.

VI.
`God lent him and takes him,' you sigh ;
  -- Nay, there let me break with your pain :
God 's generous in giving, say I, --
And the thing which He gives, I deny
  That He ever can take back again.

VII.
He gives what He gives. I appeal
  To all who bear babes -- in the hour
When the veil of the body we feel
Rent round us, -- while torments reveal
  The motherhood's advent in power,

VIII.
And the babe cries ! -- has each of us known
  By apocalypse (God being there
Full in nature) the child is our own,
Life of life, love of love, moan of moan,
  Through all changes, all times, everywhere.

IX.
He 's ours and for ever. Believe,
  O father ! -- O mother, look back
To the first love's assurance. To give
Means with God not to tempt or deceive
  With a cup thrust in Benjamin's sack.

X.
He gives what He gives. Be content !
  He resumes nothing given, -- be sure !
God lend ? Where the usurers lent
In His temple, indignant He went
  And scourged away all those impure.

XI.
He lends not ; but gives to the end,
  As He loves to the end. If it seem
That He draws back a gift, comprehend
'Tis to add to it rather, -- amend,
  And finish it up to your dream, --

XII.
Or keep, -- as a mother will toys
  Too costly, though given by herself,
Till the room shall be stiller from noise,
And the children more fit for such joys,
  Kept over their heads on the shelf.

XIII.
So look up, friends ! you, who indeed
  Have possessed in your house a sweet piece
Of the Heaven which men strive for, must need
Be more earnest than others are,--speed
  Where they loiter, persist where they cease.

XIV.
You know how one angel smiles there.
  Then weep not. 'Tis easy for you
To be drawn by a single gold hair
Of that curl, from earth's storm and despair,
  To the safe place above us. Adieu.

Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)
35 Views

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent English poets of the Victorian era. more…

All Elizabeth Barrett Browning poems | Elizabeth Barrett Browning Books

FAVORITE (0 fans)

Translation

Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • Chinese - Simplified 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • Chinese - Traditional 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Spanish Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • Japanese 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Portuguese Português (Portuguese)
  • German Deutsch (German)
  • Arabic العربية (Arabic)
  • French Français (French)
  • Russian Русский (Russian)
  • Kannada ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • Korean 한국어 (Korean)
  • Hebrew עברית (Hebrew)
  • Ukrainian Український (Ukrainian)
  • Urdu اردو (Urdu)
  • Hungarian Magyar (Hungarian)
  • Hindi मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesian Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italian Italiano (Italian)
  • Tamil தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Turkish Türkçe (Turkish)
  • Telugu తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • Thai ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Vietnamese Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Czech Čeština (Czech)
  • Polish Polski (Polish)
  • Indonesian Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Romanian Românește (Romanian)
  • Dutch Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Greek Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latin Latinum (Latin)
  • Swedish Svenska (Swedish)
  • Danish Dansk (Danish)
  • Finnish Suomi (Finnish)
  • Persian فارسی (Persian)
  • Yiddish ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • Armenian հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norwegian Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English English (English)

Discuss this Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem with the community:

Citation

Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

Style:MLAChicagoAPA

"Only a Curl." Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 20 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/10245/only-a-curl.>.

We need you!

Help us build the largest poetry community and poems collection on the web!

Other poems by

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

»

Our favorite collection of

Famous Poets

»

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.