True Confession

1
Today, recovering from influenza,
I begin, having nothing worse to do,
This autobiography that ends a
Half of my life I'm glad I'm through.
O Love, what a bloody hullaballoo
I look back at, shaken and sober,
When that intemperate life I view
From this temperate October.
To nineteen hundred and forty-seven
I pay the deepest of respects,
For during this year I was given
Some insight into the other sex.
I was a victim, till forty-six,
Of the rosy bed with bitches in it;

Witch-Wife

She is neither pink nor pale,
And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
And her mouth on a valentine.

She has more hair than she needs;
In the sun 'tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of coloured beads,
Or steps leading into the sea.

She loves me all that she can,
And her ways to my ways resign;
But she was not made for any man,
And she never will be all mine.

Valentine by a Telegraph Clerk

The tendrils of my soul are twined
With thine, though many a mile apart.
And thine in close coiled circuits wind
Around the needle of my heart.

Constant as Daniel, strong as Grove.
Ebullient throughout its depths like Smee,
My heart puts forth its tide of love,
And all its circuits close in thee.

O tell me, when along the line
From my full heart the message flows,
What currents are induced in thine?
One click from thee will end my woes.

Valentine

Too high, too high to pluck
My heart shall swing.
A fruit no bee shall suck,
No wasp shall sting.

If on some night of cold
It falls to ground
In apple-leaves of gold
I'll wrap it round.

And I shall seal it up
With spice and salt,
In a carven silver cup,
In a deep vault.

Before my eyes are blind
And my lips mute,
I must eat core and rind
Of that same fruit.

Before my heart is dust
By the end of all,
Eat it I must, I must
Were it bitter gall.

To My Valentine

More than a catbird hates a cat,
Or a criminal hates a clue,
Or the Axis hates the United States,
That's how much I love you.

I love you more than a duck can swim,
And more than a grapefruit squirts,
I love you more than a gin rummy is a bore,
And more than a toothache hurts.

As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea,
Or a juggler hates a shove,
As a hostess detests unexpected guests,
That's how much you I love.

To Mary Pickford

MOVING-PICTURE ACTRESS

(On hearing she was leaving the moving-pictures for the stage.)

Mary Pickford, doll divine,
Year by year, and every day
At the movmg-picture play,
You have been my valentine.

Once a free-limbed page in hose,
Baby-Rosalind in flower,
Cloakless, shrinking, in that hour
How our reverent passion rose,
How our fine desire you won.
Kitchen-wench another day,
Shapeless, wooden every way.
Next, a fairy from the sun.

To His Fairest Valentine, Mrs. A.L

"Come, pretty birds, present your lays,
And learn to chaunt a goddess praise;
Ye wood-nymphs, let your voices be
Employ'd to serve her deity:
And warble forth, ye virgins nine,
Some music to my Valentine.

"Her bosom is love's paradise,
There is no heav'n but in her eyes;
She's chaster than the turtle-dove,
And fairer than the queen of love:
Yet all perfections do combine
To beautifie my Valentine.

To A Valentine

Faire Valentine, since once your welcome hand
Did cull mee out wrapt in a paper band,
Vouchsafe the same hand still, to shew thereby
That Fortune did your will no injury:
What though a knife I give, your beauty's charme
Will keepe the edge from doing any harme:
Wool deads the sternest blade; and will not such
A weake edge turne, meeting a softer touch?

The Blues

What did I think, a storm clutching a clarinet
and boarding a downtown bus, headed for lessons?
I had pieces to learn by heart, but at twelve

you think the heart and memory are different.
"'It's a poor sort of memory that only works
backwards,' the Queen remarked." Alice in Wonderland.

Although I knew the way music can fill a room,
even with loneliness, which is of course a kind
of company. I could swelter through an August

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