earlyamericanwomenpoets



Where Love Hath Been


Death stopped one day before a little child,
And lifted him, and laid him ‘gainst his breast,
Hoping to see the merry God oppressed,
By the grim aspect of a curse so wild.
Naught said the boy, but still serenely smiled,
Whilst on the sable robe his head did rest —
As ‘t were the smooth down of his own white nest,
His eyes uplifted ever, tranquil, mild.
“Child,” cries Death hoarsely, “Art thou not afraid?”
Love laughs aloud: “Nay, thou should’st be,” he saith.
Then on the flaming eyes soft hands he laid
And warmed the chill lips by his glowing touch.
“Gone are thy terrors now, thy self dismayed;
Where Love hath been, none fear to come to Death!”


That Other Girl


What's that? A rose? Oh, yes, long years ago
She tossed it to my hand — that other girl!
The sunshine laughed above us, and below
The water dashed its gleam of silver pearl
Where we two stood together, years ago,
I and that other girl!

Twelve years it was — we danced that summer through
And fished for hearts with words of merry jest.
Never swam sun in such pure blaze of blue,
Never was earth so fair for pleasure's quest!
And that day when the dewy rose she threw,
Yes, of all days, that was the loveliest.

The winter found us still together, we
Drove, walked, and read — I and that other girl.
Dante and Tasso — Goethe; who but she
Could wing a thought, swift as a fan's unfurl?
She was so clever — cleverer far — ah me!
How like to humming-top my poor brains whirl!

And yet — and yet — naught but this rose remains,
And she is still only "that other girl."
Go! Join the Past, which dead, like thou, contains,
The shrunken beauty of thy petal's curl.
"Yes, dear, I'm coming"; God! how that voice pains! —
To-day it ought to be that other girl!


The Rose of Love


Love struck me lightly with his perfumed wing,
And I from dreaming woke. I could not see
The God for splendor of his majesty,
But fiery circles, flaming ring on ring
About me whirled, each last one narrowing
Unto a centre burning wondrously!
And in the blazing heart, swung carelessly
A crimson bud, its curved leaves quivering.
Fearless of flame, I dared Death for the rose,
I felt its dewy touch upon my hair,
And on my lips, and 'gainst my heart's fierce throes,
— So sweet it was, I fain would keep it there!
Alas! unrest is now my sole repose,
And all my Joy, a thorn, that doth not spare!


Sources

Massey, Susanna. God’s Parable and Other Poems. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1895.

— — —. “Where Love Hath Been.” Overbury Manuscripts. Barnard College.