Verse > Rupert Brooke > Collected Poems > II. 1908–1911 > 17. Paralysis
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Rupert Brooke (1887–1915).  Collected Poems. 1916.
  
II. 1908–1911
17. Paralysis
  
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.        5
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.       10
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;       15
  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       20
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,       25
To you alone with your hills and heaven.

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