Saturday, July 8, 2017

CRUEL LOVE—ANACREONTIC, a poem

I LOOKED from out my window once
     And saw Love standing there;
No cloak had he to cover him,
     His dimpled feet were bare,
And fast and chill the snowflakes fell
     On his ambrosial hair.

He lifted up to mine a face
     Filled with celestial light;
Fond, fond with pity grew my heart
     To see his hapless plight,
And down I sped to offer him
     Warm shelter for the night:—

"Come in, come in, thou tender child,
     A wanderer from thine own!
Hath all the world abandoned thee,
     That thou art thus alone?
Come in, come in! that straightway I
     For others may atone!"

I took his icy hand in mine,—
     Why swifter throbbed each vein?
Was it the impulse of my blood
     To ease his frozen pain?—
Yet still his lips refused to smile,
     Still fell his tears like rain.

Bashful he seemed, as half inclined
     To shiver there apart:
I led him closer to the fire,
     I drew him to my heart:
Ah, cruel Love! my trustful breast
     He wounded with a dart!

Ah, cruel Love! He smiled at last—
     A wondrous smile to see!
And passing from my sheltering door,
     With step alert and free,
He took my warmth, my joy with him,—
     His tears he left to me!
"Cruel Love—Anacreontic" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Harper's Monthly Magazine (July 1907), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

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