Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward

New Neighbors

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Within the window's scant recess,
Behind a pink geranium flower,
She sits and sews, and sews and sits,
From patient hour to patient hour.


As woman-like as marble is,
Or as a lovely death might be--
A marble death condemned to make
A feint at life perpetually.


Wondering, I watch to pity her;
Wandering, I go my restless ways;
Content, I think the untamed thoughts
Of free and solitary days,


Until the mournful dusk begins
To drop upon the quiet street,
Until, upon the pavement far,
There falls the sound of coming feet:


A happy, hastening, ardent sound,
Tender as kisses on the air--
Quick, as if touched by unseen lips
Blushes the little statue there;


And woman-like as young life is,
And woman-like as joy may be,
Tender with color, lithe with love,
She starts, transfigured gloriously.


Superb in one transcendent glance--
Her eyes, I see, are burning black--
My little neighbor, smiling, turns,
And throws my unasked pity back.


I wonder, is it worth the while,
To sit and sew from hour to hour--
To sit and sew with eyes of black,
Behind a pink geranium flower?

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