Alice Cary

April 26, 1820 - 1871

 

Paul

by Alice Cary

Crossing the stubble, where, erewhile,
The golden-headed wheat had been,
I saw, and knew him by his smile.
Night, sad with rain, was flowing in --

I drew the curtains, soft and warm,
And when the room was full of light,
We sat -- half listening to the storm,
Half talking -- all the dreary night.

From their wet sheds, we heard the moan
Our oxen made -- a pretty pair --
And heard the dead leaves often blown
In gusty eddies, here and there.

The dull-eyed spider ran along
The smoky rafters; the gray mouse
Crossed the bare floor; and his wild song
The cricket made through all the house.

Twisting the brown hair into rings,
Above his meditative eyes,
I counted all the long-gone springs
That we had sown with flowers; his sighs

Came thick and fast, as well they might,
But when I said, how on, and on,
For his sake, I had kept them bright --
The slow, reproachful smile was gone.

And seeing that my spoken truth
Glowed in my silent looks, the same,
All the proud beauty of his youth
Back on his faded manhood came.

About my neck he clasped his arm,
As in affection's morning prime,
And said, how blest he was -- that storm
Was sweeter than the summer-time!

But when I kissed him back, and said --
The embers never cast a gleam
Through our low cabin, half so red,
Sleep vanished -- all had been a dream.

Source:

Poems
Copyright 1855
Boston: Ticknor And Fields
 
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