Afternoon, An

I am stirred by the dream of an afternoon
Of a perfect day—though it was not June;
The lilt of winds, and the droning tune
That a busy city was humming;

And a bronze-brown head, and lips like wine,
Leaning out through the window-vine
A-list for steps that were maybe mine—
Eager steps that were coming.

I can see it all, as a dreamer may—
The tender smile on your lips that day,
And the glow on your cheek as we rode away
Into the golden weather.

And a love-light shone in your eyes of brown—
I swear there did!—as we drove down
The crowded avenue out of the town,
Through shadowy lanes, together;

Drove out into the sunset-skies
That glowed with wonderful crimson dyes;
And with soul and spirit, and heart and eyes,
We silently drank their splendor.

But the golden glory that lit the place
Was not alone from the sunset's grace—
For I saw in your fair, uplifted face
A light that was wondrously tender.

I say I saw it. And yet to-day
I ask myself, in a cynical way,
Was it only a part you had learned to play,
To see me act the lover?

And I curse myself for a fool. And yet
I would willingly die without one regret
Could I bring back the day whose sun has set—
And you—and live it over.
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