Lucy Larcom (March 5, 1824 – April 17, 1893) was an American poet whose idealistic poems caught the attention of John Greenleaf Whittier.
== Quotes ==
=== Poems (1869) ===
This is a haunted world. It hath no breeze But is the echo of some voice beloved: Its pines have human tones; its billows wear The color and the sparkle of dear eyes. Its flowers are sweet with touch of tender hands That once clasped ours. All things are beautiful Because of something lovelier than themselves, Which breathes within them, and will never die. — Haunted,—but not with any spectral gloom; Earth is suffused, inhabited by heaven.
Introductory poem.These blossoms, gathered in familiar paths, With dear companions now passed out of sight, Shall not be laid upon their graves. They live, Since love is deathless. Pleasure now nor pride Is theirs in mortal wise, but hallowing thoughts Will meet the offering, of so little worth, Wanting the benison death has made divine.
Introductory poem.Oh, her heart’s adrift with oneOn an endless voyage gone! Night and morningHannah’s at the window binding shoes.
"Hannah Binding Shoes".
==== A Strip of Blue (1870) ====
Published in The Atlantic Monthly (December 1870), Vol. 26, p. 676
I do not own an inch of land, But all I see is mine, — The orchard and the mowing fields, The lawns and gardens fine.Richer am I than he who owns Great fleets and argosies; I have a share in every ship Won by the inland breeze, To loiter on yon airy road Above the apple-trees. I freight them with my untold dreams; Each bears my own picked crew; And nobler cargoes wait for them Than ever India knew, — My ships that sail into the East Across that outlet blue.Sometimes they seem like living shapes, — The people of the sky, — Guests in white raiment coming down From heaven, which is close by; I call them by familiar names, As one by one draws nigh.A part is greater than the whole; By hints are mysteries told. The fringes of eternity, — God's sweeping garment-fold, In that bright shred of glittering sea, I reach out for and hold.By suns unsettling kist. Out through the utmost gates of space, Past where the gray stars drift, To the widening Infinite, my soul Glides on, a vessel swift, Yet loses not her anchorage In yonder azure rift.Here sit I, as a little child; The threshold of God's door Is that clear band of chrysoprase; Now the vast temple floor, The blinding glory of the dome I bow my head before. Thy universe, O God, is home, In height or depth, to me; Yet here upon thy footstool green Content am I to be; Glad when is oped unto my need Some sea-like glimpse of Thee.
=== A New England Girlhood: Outlined from Memory, 1889 ===
A New England Girlhood: Outlined from Memory, 1889, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Every phase of our life belongs to us. The moon does not, except in appearance, lose her first thin, luminous curve, nor her silvery crescent, in rounding to her full. The woman is still both child and girl, in the completeness of womanly character. We have a right to our entire selves, through all the changes of this mortal state, a claim which we shall doubtless carry along with us into the unfolding mysteries of our eternal being. Perhaps in this thought lies hidden the secret of immortal youth: for a seer has said that "to grow old in heaven is to grow young."
=== Lucy Larcom : Life, Letters, and Diary (1895) ===
Quotes of Larcom from Lucy Larcom : Life, Letters, and Diary (1895) edited by Daniel Dulany Addison What does cause depression of spirits? Heavy head and heavy heart, and no sufficient reason for either, that I know of. I am out of doors every day, and have nothing unusual to trouble me; yet every interval of thought is clouded ; there is no rebound, no rejoicing as it is my nature to rejoice, and as all things teach me to do. We are strange phenomena to ourselves, when we will stop to gaze at ourselves; but that I do not believe in; there are pleasanter subjects, and self is a mere speck on the great horizon of life.
Journal entry (2 March 1861), Ch. 5 : The Beginning of the War.I believe the best poetry of our times is growing too artistic; the study is too visible. If freedom and naturalness are lost out of poetry, everything worth having is lost.
Journal entry (2 March 1861), Ch. 5 : The Beginning of the War.Eternal life and eternal death; what do these words mean? This is the question that comes up again and again. It has recently been brought up by those whom I am appointed to instruct; and the question with its answer, brings new and fearful responsibility with every return. I am more and more convinced that the idea of duration is not the one that affects us most: for here it has proved that those who are least careful about what they are in heart and life, are trying hardest to convince themselves and others that the "doctrine of eternal punishment" is not true. By making themselves believe that to be the all-important question, they draw off their own and others' attention from the really momentous one, — "Am I living the eternal life? Is it begun in me now?" And now I see why I have questioned whether it was right in me to express my own doubts of this very doctrine. The final renovation of all souls, their restoration to life in holiness and love, is certainly a hope of mine that is not without a strong infusion of confidence; but I dare not say it is a belief; because both reason and revelation have left it in deep mystery; and the expression of any such belief does not seem to me likely to help others much; certainly not those who are indolent or indifferent regarding the true Christian life. Then the "loss of the soul" is in plain language spoken of by our Lord as possible. What can that mean, but the loss of life in Him? the loss of ennobling aspirations, of the love of all good, of the power of seeing and seeking truth? And if this is possible to us now, by our own choice, why not forever? — since, as free beings, our choice must always be in our own power? The truth that we must all keep before us, in order to be growing better forever, is that life is love and holiness ; death, selfishness and sin; then it is a question of life and death to be grappled with in the deep places of every soul.
Journal entry (2 March 1861), Ch. 5 : The Beginning of the War.Much of our Christianity is not of a sufficiently enlarged type to satisfy an educated Hindoo; not that Unitarianism is necessary, for that system has but a surface-liberalism which can become very hard, and finally very narrow, as its history among us has often proved. It is not a system at all that we want: it is Christ, the "wisdom of God and the power of God," Christ, the loving, creating, and redeeming friend of the world, Christ, whose large, free being enfolds all that is beautiful in nature and in social life; and all that is strong and deep and noble in the sanctuary of every living soul. When Christians have truly learned Christ, they can be true teachers.
Journal entry (18 November 1861), Ch. 5 : The Beginning of the War.Sometimes it seems to me that God's way of dealing with me is not to let me see much of my friends, those who are most to me in the spiritual life, lest I should forget that the invisible bond is the only reality. That is the only way I can reconcile myself to the inevitable separations of life and death.
Her last letter to Episcopalian Bishop Phillips Brooks, just prior to his death on 23 January (17 January 1893), in Ch. 12 : Last Years.The noblest of men and friends has left the world, — Phillips Brooks. One month ago this morning he breathed his last. He, with whom it was impossible to associate the idea of death; — was? — is so, still! — the most living man I ever knew — physically, mentally, spiritually. It is almost like taking the sun out of the sky. He was such an illumination, such a warmth, such an inspiration! And he let us all come so near him, — just as Christ does! I felt that I knew Christ personally through him. He always spoke of Him as his dearest friend, and he always lived in perfect, loving allegiance to God in Him. Now I know him as I know Christ, — as a spirit only, and his sudden withdrawal is only an ascension to Him, in the immortal life. Shut into my sick-room, I have seen none of the gloom of the burial; I know him alive, with Christ, from the dead, forevermore. Where he is, life must be. He lived only in realities here, and he is entering into the heart of them now. "What a new splendor in heaven!" was my first thought of him, after one natural burst of sorrow. What great services he has found! How gloriously life, with its immortal opportunities, must be opening to him! He, — one week here, — the next there, — and seen no more here again. The very suddenness of his going makes the other life seem the real one, rather than this. And a man like this is the best proof God ever gives human beings of their own immortality.
Journal entry (20 February 1893), Ch. 12 : Last Years.O Mariner-soul, Thy quest is but begun, There are new worlds Forever to be won.
Last written words (17 April 1893), as quoted in Ch. 12 : Last Years.Freedom.
Last spoken words (17 April 1893), as quoted in Ch. 12 : Last Years.
== Quotes about Larcom ==
The true poetic temperament has in it an element of religion; for religion and poetry both deal with the spiritual interpretation of life, and one who possesses the temperament for either is conscious of the vastness overshadowing common things, and sees the infinite meaning of the apparent finiteness of the visible world. The delicate perception of truth which is a distinctive quality of the poet often leads to the deep appreciation of the spirit in and through nature, and enables one to feel and know God. Lucy Larcom possessed the poetic temperament, with this strong element of religion. She was preeminently religious, in the sense of possessing a spiritual power, dealing continually with spiritual things. She began early to interpret life in the light of divine truth; and truth made real in human character she considered the one thing worth striving for.
Daniel Dulany Addison, in Lucy Larcom : Life, Letters, and Diary (1895), Ch. 9 : Religious Changes 1881-1884.
== External links ==
Larcom works at Project Gutenberg
Larcom works at the Internet Archive