Forever in My Dream and in My Morning Thought

by Henry David Thoreau (1857)

Forever in my dream and in my morning thought
    Eastward a mount ascends—
But when in the sunbeam its hard outline is sought—
    It all dissolves and ends.
The woods that way are gates—the pastures too slope
    To an unearthly ground—
But when I ask my mates, to take the staff and cup,
    It can no more be found—
Perchance I have no shoes fit for the lofty soil
    Where my thoughts graze—
No properly spun clues—nor well strained mid day oil!
    Or—must I mend my ways?
It is a promised land which I have not yet earned,
    I have not made beginning
With consecrated hand—I have not even learned
    To lay the underpinning.
The mountain sinks by day—as do my lofty thoughts,
    Because I'm not highminded.
If I could think alway above these hills and warts
    I should see it, though blinded.
It is a spiral path within the pilgrim's soul
    Leads to this mountain's brow
Commencing at his hearth he reaches to this goal
    He knows not when nor how.

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