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Lost Beliefs


  One after one they left us;
    The sweet birds out of our breasts
  Went flying away in the morning:
    Will they come again to their nests?

  Will they come again at nightfall,
    With God's breath in their song?
  Noon is fierce with the heats of summer,
    And summer days are long!

  O my Life, with thy upward liftings,
    Thy downward-striking roots,
  Ripening out of thy tender blossoms
    But hard and bitter fruits!--

  In thy boughs there is no shelter
    For the birds to seek again.
  The desolate nest is broken
    And torn with storms and rain!


William Dean Howells