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I Knew A Man By Sight
by
Henry David Thoreau


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I knew a man by sight, 
A blameless wight, 
Who, for a year or more, 
Had daily passed my door, 
Yet converse none had had with him. 

I met him in a lane, 
Him and his cane, 
About three miles from home, 
Where I had chanced to roam, 
And volumes stared at him, and he at me. 

In a more distant place 
I glimpsed his face, 
And bowed instinctively; 
Starting he bowed to me, 
Bowed simultaneously, and passed along. 

Next, in a foreign land 
I grasped his hand, 
And had a social chat, 
About this thing and that, 
As I had known him well a thousand years. 

Late in a wilderness 
I shared his mess, 
For he had hardships seen, 
And I a wanderer been; 
He was my bosom friend, and I was his. 

And as, methinks, shall all, 
Both great and small, 
That ever lived on earth, 
Early or late their birth, 
Stranger and foe, one day each other know.


This poem is in the public domain.

 

 

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Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862) was an American writer who celebrated nature and independence; we know him best for his book, Walden, which chronicles two years of life he spent in a tiny cabin on the shores of Walden Lake, and for his essay, Civil Disobedience, works cited as powerful influences by no less than Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Thoreau (which is pronounced "THUR-oh," by the way, not "thu-ROW") was a contemporary and friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May and Bronson Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne; he lived his entire life in Massachusetts and was a graduate of Harvard. To learn more about him, visit www.thoreausociety.org.

 

 


Post New Comment:
blueskies:
Yes. Calming. Wisdom,too.
Posted 10/26/2016 05:19 PM
KevinArnold:
Thank you so much for sharing this Jayne. It's like a calm deep lake.
Posted 10/26/2016 10:47 AM
paradea:
A wise piece of writing.
Posted 10/26/2016 07:33 AM


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