Empty Glove, An


AN empty glove — long withering in the grasp
Of Time's cold palm. I lift it to my lips, —
And lo, once more I thrill beneath its clasp,
In fancy, as with odorous finger-tips
It reaches from the years that used to be
And proffers back love, life and all, to me.


Ah! beautiful she was beyond belief:
Her face was fair and lustrous as the moon's;
Her eyes — too large for small delight or grief, —
The smiles of them were Laughter's afternoons;
Their tears were April showers, and their love —
All sweetest speech swoons ere it speaks thereof.


White-fruited cocoa shown against the shell
Were not so white as was her brow below
The cloven tresses of the hair that fell
Across her neck and shoulders of nude snow;
Her cheeks — chaste pallor, with a crimson stain —
Her mouth was like a red rose rinsed with rain.


And this was she my fancy held as good —
As fair and lovable — in every wise
As peerless in pure worth of womanhood
As was her wondrous beauty in men's eyes. —
Yet, all alone, I kiss this empty glove —
The poor husk of the hand I loved — and love.
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