CLOSE upon the window-glass pressed our eager faces-
Hearts and torches all aflare, frame on frame of laces,
Wreathing roses all abloom, Cupids all awing,
Valentines- and valentines! swung along the string,
Lights from out the window-pane glinted on the snow
Once when we bought valentines- how long, how long ago!
Slow we tiptoed in the shop, scarlet-cheeked and shy,
Half-elate, half-afraid to be asked to buy,
Sidling toward the prettiest on their swaying strings,
Laughing at the ugliest, monstrous painted things.
(Still the little thrill of fear- life was strange, you knew-
What if someone sometime sent one of those to you?)
Tense we watched the lagging mail, furtive hearts abeat . . .
Surely it would never come down the endless street!
Surely all the valentines would be gone before
(Out of sight, into sight) it could reach our door.
Surely all the envelopes sealed with hearts of red
(Were they there? Were they ours?) would be gone instead!
Hearts and doves, wreaths and loves wonderful to see!
Could He mean the shiny words, “I Can Love But Thee?”
Would he look across the desks when next morning came,
He who sent (If He sent) all those hearts aflame?
Would He know the straggling hand, all in print and bent
Up and down on the folds of the one you sent?
* * * * * *
We’re too old to buy them now- all the loves and laces,
We can only watch above other little faces.
Glowing at the prettiest, laughing at the plain,
Still the eager faces crowd by the lighted pane.
Once we too saw wonderlights glinting on the snow,
Once we too bought valentines- too long, too long ago!
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Based on Keywords: glinted, abloom, desks, ugliest, sidling, valentines, awing, tiptoed, kenneth, aflare, half-afraid