My Heavy Heart

I lift my heavy heart up solemnly,

As once Electra her sepulchral urn,

And, looking in thine eyes, I over-turn

The ashes at thy feet.  Behold and see

What a great heap of grief lay hid in me,

And how the red wild sparkles dimly burn

Through the ashen greyness.  If thy foot in scorn

Could tread them out to darkness utterly,

It might be well perhaps.  But if instead

Thou wait beside me for the wind to blow

The grey dust up, . . . those laurels on thine head,

O my Beloved, will not shield thee so,

That none of all the fires shall scorch and shred

The hair beneath.  Stand further off then! go!

- Elizabeth Browning

From: Sonnets from The Portuguese

(Female Poets)    (British Poets)    (Elizabeth Browning Poetry)