Penalty

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Because of the fullness of what I had
        All that I have seems void and vain.
If I had not been happy I were not sad;
        Though my salt is savorless, why complain?

From the ripe perfection of what was mine,
        All that is mine seems worse than naught;
Yet I know as I sit in the dark and pine,
        No cup could be drained which had not been fraught.

From the throb and thrill of a day that was,
        The day that now is seems dull with gloom;
Yet I bear its dullness and darkness because
        'Tis but the reaction of glow and bloom.

From the royal feast which of old was spread
        I am starved on the diet which now is mine;
Yet I could not turn hungry from water and bread,
        If I had not been sated on fruit and wine.

from Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1883)

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