Stops of Various Quills/Sympathy

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Howells, Stops of Various Quills, 1895 045 large a.jpg


FRIEND, neighbor, stranger,
 as the case may be,
You who are sitting in the
 stall next me,
And listening also to this pitiless
That says for me all that I would
 not say,
And follows me, however I wind
And seems to turn my whole life
 inside out:
I wonder, should I speak and be
 the first
To own just where in my soul it
 hurt worst,
And you revealed in yours the spot
 its flame
Scorched fiercest, if it might not be
 the same.