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A Winter Reverie by Millie W. Carpenter

We stood amid the rustling gloom alone

That night, while from the blue plains overhead,

With golden kisses thickly overblown,

A shooting star into the darkness sped.

"'Twas like Persephone, who ran," we said,

"Away from Love." The grass sprang round our feet,

The purple lilacs in the dusk smelled sweet,

And the black demon of the train sped by,

Rousing the still air with his long, loud cry.

The slender rim of a young rising moon

Hung in the west as you leaned on the bar

And spun a thread of some sweet April tune,

And wished a wish and named the falling star.

We heard a brook trill in the fields afar;

The air wrapped round us that entrancing fold

Of vanishing sweet stuff that mortal hold

Can never grasp—the mist of dreams—as down

The street we went in that fair foreign town.

I might have whispered of my love that night,

But something wrapped you as a shield around,

And held me back: your quiver of affright,

Your startled movement at some sudden sound—

A night-bird rustling on the leafy ground—

Your hushed and tremulous whisper of alarm,

Your beating heart pressed close against my arm,—

All, all were sweet; and yet _my_ heart beat true,

Nor shrined one wish I might not breathe to you.

So when we parted little had been said:

I left you standing just within the door,

With the dim moonlight streaming on your head

And rippling softly on the checkered floor.

I can remember even the dress you wore—

Some dainty white Swiss stuff that floated round

Your supple form and trailed upon the ground,

While bands of coral bound each slender wrist,

Studded with one great purple amethyst.

My story is not much—is it?—to tell:

It seems a wandering line of music, faint,

Whose sweet pathetic measures rise and swell,

Then, strangled, fall with curious restraint.

'Tis like the pictures that the artists paint,

With shadows forward thrown into the light

From the real figures hidden out of sight.

And is not life crossed in this strange, sad way

With dreams whose shadows lengthen day by day?

But you, dear heart—sweet heart loved all these years—

Will recognize the passion of the strain:

Who eats the lotos-flower of Love with tears,

Will know the rapture of that numb, vague pain

Which thrills the heart and stirs the languid brain.

All day amid the toiling throng we strive,

While in our heart these sacred, sweet loves thrive,

And in choice hours we show them, white and cool

Like lilies floating on a troubled pool.