they only laughed

Once, I knew a fine song,
--It is true, believe me,--
It was all of birds,
And I held them in a basket;
When I opened the wicket,
Heavens! They all flew away.
I cried, “Come back, little thoughts!”
But they only laughed.
They flew on
Until they were as sand
Thrown between me and the sky.

[Stephen Crane, 'LXV' (Once, I knew a fine song)]

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