Wisteria

The first purple wisteria
I recall from boyhood hung
on a wire outside the windows
of the breakfast room next door
at the home of Steve Pisaris.
I loved his tall, skinny daughter,
or so I thought, and I would wait
beside the back door, prostrate,
begging to be taken in. Perhaps
it was only the flowers of spring
with their sickening perfumes
that had infected me. When Steve
and Sophie and the three children
packed up and made the move west,
I went on spring after spring,


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Willie's and Nellie's Wish

I

Willie and Nellie, one evening sat
By their own little cottage door;
They saw a man go staggering by --
Says Willie, "that's Mr. Lanore;
He is just going home from town, where
He has been in a saloon.
When Maggie and I came from school,
Said Maggie, 'please papa, come home.'
II
"She asked him again, again, to come home.
At last he got angry, and said:
'Maggie, go home -- don't bother me so;
Go home now, and shut up your head.'
Poor girl, she came weeping all the way,


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William House and Family

I

Come all kind friends, both far and near,
Come listen to me and you shall hear --
It's of a family and their fate,
All about them I will relate.
II
They once did live at Edgerton,
They once did live at Muskegon,
From there they went to Chicago,
Which proved their fatal overthrow.
III
It was William House's family,
As fine a family as you see --
His family was eleven in all,
I do not think it was very small.
IV
Two children died some years ago,
Before they went to Chicago,


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Where Go the Boats

Dark brown is the river,
Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating -
Where will all come home?

On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore.


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White-Collar Spaniard

We have no heart for civil strife,
Our burdens we prefer to bear;
We long to live a peaceful life
And claim of happiness our share.
If only to be clothed and fed
And see our children laugh and play -
That means a lot when all is said,
In this grim treadmill of today.

The price of manhood is too high
When leap the sacrificial flames;
For Justice we refuse to die:
Honour and Pride are empty names.
We will not play the martyr's part,
We will not perish for a Cause;


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White Christmas

My folks think I'm a serving maid
Each time I visit home;
They do not dream I ply a trade
As old as Greece or Rome;
For if they found I'd fouled their name
And was not white as snow,
I'm sure that they would die of shame . . .
Please, God, they'll never know.

I clean the paint from off my face,
In sober black I dress;
Of coquetry I leave no trace
To give them vague distress;
And though it causes me a pang
To play such sorry tricks,
About my neck I meekly hang
A silver crufix.


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When the Children Come Home

On a lonely selection far out in the West
An old woman works all the day without rest,
And she croons, as she toils 'neath the sky's glassy dome,
`Sure I'll keep the ould place till the childer come home.'

She mends all the fences, she grubs, and she ploughs,
She drives the old horse and she milks all the cows,
And she sings to herself as she thatches the stack,
`Sure I'll keep the ould place till the childer come back.'

It is five weary years since her old husband died;


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Whose are the little beds, I asked

142

Whose are the little beds, I asked
Which in the valleys lie?
Some shook their heads, and others smiled—
And no one made reply.

Perhaps they did not hear, I said,
I will inquire again—
Whose are the beds—the tiny beds
So thick upon the plain?

'Tis Daisy, in the shortest—
A little further on—
Nearest the door—to wake the Ist—
Little Leontoden.

'Tis Iris, Sir, and Aster—
Anemone, and Bell—
Bartsia, in the blanket red—
And chubby Daffodil.


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