Heaven is hell, if it be as they say,
An endless day.
A pen of terrible radiance, on whose walls
No shadow falls,
No sunset ever comes because no sun has ever risen,
Where, like bewildered flies,
Poor immortalities
Interminably crawl, caught in a crystal prison.

Yet, if there is but night to recompense
How can we bear to live so long and know
The end is so?
Creatures that hate the dark, to utmost dark descending?
The worm's dull enmity,
To feel it--but not see!
To be afraid at night and know that night unending!

There is a time when, though the sun be weak
It is not bleak
With perfect and intolerable light,
Nor has the night
Yet put those eyes to sleep that do not wish for slumber;
When, on the city we know,
The pale, transmuting snow
Falls softly, in sighing flakes, immaculate, without number.

Whisperingly it drifts, and whisperingly
Fills earth and sky
With fragile petals, tranquil as a swan's
Blanch pinions.
And where it falls is silence, subtle and mild.
That silence is not cruel
But calm as a frozen jewel,

If there can be a heaven, let it wear
Even such an air.
Not shamed with sun nor black without a ray,
But gently day.
A tired street, whereon the snow falls, whitely,
An infant, cradled in fleece,
An ancient, drowsy with peace,
Unutterable peace, too pure to shine too brightly.

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