Forget-Me-Nots

For Amy Lowell

We walked through garden closes
Languidly, with dragging Sunday feet,
And passed down a long pleached alley,
And could remember, as one remembers in a fairy tale,
Ladies in brocade, and lovers, and musk.
We surprised tall dahlias
That shrugged and turned scarlet faces to the breeze.

Further still we sauntered under old trees that bended with such a dignity
But hardly acknowledged our passing
Until at last—(and it was like a gift,
A treasure lifted from a dream of the past)
We came to a pond banded in lindens.

The bank curved under its crown of forget-me-nots;
They shone like blue jewels from the further shore.
And they were free! I could have had them all
To gather and to carry in my arms!
But I took only a few,
Seven blue gems,
To set in the gold of my memory. 

More by Jean Starr Untermeyer

Possession

Walk into the world,
Go into the places of trade;
Go into the smiling country—
But go, clad, wrapped closely always,
Shielded and sustained,
In the visible flame of my love.
 
Let it blaze about you—
A glowing armor for all to see;
Flashing around your head—
A tender and valiant halo.
 
I think there will be many to wonder
And many to stand in awe and envy—
But surely no one will come too close to you.
No one will dare to claim you,—
Hand or heart,—
As you pass in your shining and terrible garment.
 

Rain

I have always hated the rain,
And the gloom of grayed skies.
But now I think I must always cherish
Rain-hung leaf and the misty river;
And the friendly screen of dripping green
Where eager kisses were shyly given
And your pipe-smoke made clouds in our damp, close heaven.
 
The curious laggard passed us by,
His wet shoes soughed on the shining walk.
And that afternoon was filled with a blurred glory—
That afternoon, when we first talked as lovers.
 

Related Poems

On the Road to the Sea

We passed each other, turned and stopped for half an hour, then went our way,
           I who make other women smile did not make you--
But no man can move mountains in a day.
                  So this hard thing is yet to do.

But first I want your life:--before I die I want to see
                  The world that lies behind the strangeness of your eyes,
There is nothing gay or green there for my gathering, it may be,
                             Yet on brown fields there lies
A haunting purple bloom: is there not something in grey skies
                      And in grey sea?
                  I want what world there is behind your eyes,
                  I want your life and you will not give it me.

                 Now, if I look, I see you walking down the years,
                 Young, and through August fields--a face, a thought, a swinging dream
                               perched on a stile--;
                  I would have liked (so vile we are!) to have taught you tears
                   But most to have made you smile.
                 To-day is not enough or yesterday: God sees it all--
Your length on sunny lawns, the wakeful rainy nights--; tell me--;
                   (how vain to ask), but it is not a question--just a call--;
Show me then, only your notched inches climbing up the garden wall,
                     I like you best when you are small.

                                   Is this a stupid thing to say
                                  Not having spent with you one day?
                  No matter; I shall never touch your hair
                   Or hear the little tick behind your breast,
                                   And as a flying bird
                  Brushes the branches where it may not rest
                 I have brushed your hand and heard
               The child in you: I like that best
So small, so dark, so sweet; and were you also then too grave and wise?
                  Always I think. Then put your far off little hand in mine;--
                         Oh! let it rest;
I will not stare into the early world beyond the opening eyes,
                 Or vex or scare what I love best.
                  But I want your life before mine bleeds away--
                      Here--not in heavenly hereafters--soon,--
                      I want your smile this very afternoon,
                 (The last of all my vices, pleasant people used to say,
                     I wanted and I sometimes got--the Moon!)

                      You know, at dusk, the last bird's cry,
                  And round the house the flap of the bat's low flight,
                     Trees that go black against the sky
                 And then--how soon the night!

          No shadow of you on any bright road again,
And at the darkening end of this--what voice? whose kiss? As if you'd say!
It is not I who have walked with you, it will not be I who take away
                  Peace, peace, my little handful of the gleaner's grain
                 From your reaped fields at the shut of day.

                Peace! Would you not rather die
                  Reeling,--with all the cannons at your ear?
                So, at least, would I,
                   And I may not be here
                   To-night, to-morrow morning or next year.
                  Still I will let you keep your life a little while,
                      See dear?
                    I have made you smile.