Fleeing away

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My thoughts soar not as they ought to soar,
   Higher and higher on soul-lent wings;
But ever and often, and more and more
   They are dragged down earthward by little things,
By little troubles and little needs,
As a lark might be tangled among the weeds.

My purpose is not what it ought to be,
   Steady and fixed, like a star on high,
But more like a fisherman's light at sea;
   Hither and thither it seems to fly -
Sometimes feeble, and sometimes bright,
Then suddenly lost in the gloom of night.

My life is far from my dream of life -
   Calmly contented, serenely glad;
But, vexed and worried by daily strife,
   It is always troubled, and ofttimes sad -
And the heights I had thought I should reach one day
Grow dimmer and dimmer, and farther away.

My heart finds never the longed-for rest;
   Its worldly striving, its greed for gold,
Chilled and frightened the calm-eyed guest,
   Who sometimes sought me in days of old;
And ever fleeing away from me
Is the higher self that I long to be.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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