XXX. Sinner’s Rue

I walked alone and thinking,
   And faint the nightwind blew
And stirred on mounds at crossways
   The flower of sinner’s rue.

Where the roads part they bury
   Him that his own hand slays,
And so the weed of sorrow
   Springs at the four cross ways.

By night I plucked it hueless,
   When morning broke ‘twas blue:
Blue at my breast I fastened
   The flower of sinner’s rue.

It seemed a herb of healing,
   A balsam and a sign,
Flower of a heart whose trouble
   Must have been worse than mine.

Dead clay that did me kindness,
   I can do none to you,
But only wear for breastknot
   The flower of sinner’s rue.

A.E. Housman, Last Poems

Public domain: first published in 1922.

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