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Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in TESOL, and poetry at the City College of New York. He is now anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson’s sonnets for his dissertation at Amerika Institut of LMU Munich, where also he edits a poetry weekly. His poems and translations have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured, and a senior copyeditor of Review of International American Studies.

20150327

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd

by Walt Whitman

1

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d, 
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night, 
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring. 

Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring, 
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west, 
And thought of him I love. 

2

O powerful western fallen star! 
O shades of night—O moody, tearful night! 
O great star disappear’d—O the black murk that hides the star! 
O cruel hands that hold me powerless—O helpless soul of me! 
O harsh surrounding cloud that will not free my soul. 

3

In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings, 
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green, 
With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love, 
With every leaf a miracle—and from this bush in the dooryard, 
With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green, 
A sprig with its flower I break.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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