Menella Bute Smedley

A Meeting

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Two that wrecked each other's hope,
Parting coldly in their prime,
Met upon the downward slope,
Taught by tears, and calmed by time,
Under Autumn's perfect trees,
Dropping bright remembrances.
There they spread their stories out,
Face to face, and hand to hand,
Looking back with wistful doubt
Into the forgotten land
Where the wheels of life went fast,
Hardly seen till they were past:
Looking where the dawn had been
Till each grey and pallid line
Shivers with a sun unseen
Which must never rise and shine,
And the Moment, lost and vain,
Comes before their souls again:
Saying softly, “Yes, I think
You were there,—you came at ten.”
“In your hair was something pink;
How I hate the hue since then!”
“Hate a harmless ribbon!” “Nay,
I have pardoned it to-day.
“I remember what you said.”
“But you laughed, and I despaired.”
“Did I laugh? I was afraid
You might fancy that I cared.”
“Be content, your pride shall be
Scatheless as your heart for me.”
“Something in your voice assures
You have angry feelings yet.”
“Something told me then in yours
That you would not—quite—forget;
Just one foolish moment lit
Hope,—that laugh extinguished it.”
“Sure the flame was very weak!”
“'Twas your silence let it die.”
“If a man's hope will not speak,
Can a woman's heart reply?”
“Had I spoken?” “Do I know?
It was very long ago!”
Face to face, and hand in hand,
Looking at those eastern skies,
Is the light along the land
Only borrowed from their eyes?
Can the song of birds be drawn
From a memory of dawn?
Lo, the hill, the sea, the plain,
Flushing with familiar rose!
Look away, and look again,
But the colour stays and grows!
Wherefore stand amazed and dumb?
Knew you not that morn must come?

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Menella Bute Smedley