by Helen Hunt Jackson

1 They bade me cast the thing away,
2 They pointed to my hands all bleeding,
3 They listened not to all my pleading;
4 The thing I meant I could not say;
5 I knew that I should rue the day
6 If once I cast that thing away.

7 I grasped it firm, and bore the pain;
8 The thorny husks I stripped and scattered;
9 If I could reach its heart, what mattered
10 If other men saw not my gain,
11 Or even if I should be slain?
12 I knew the risks; I chose the pain.

13 O, had I cast that thing away,
14 I had not found what most I cherish,
15 A faith without which I should perish,--
16 The faith which, like a kernel, lay
17 Hid in the husks which on that day
18 My instinct would not throw away!