Margaret Widdemer Poems >>
Three Studies From A Portrait

1
OLD TALES
HER voice within the darkened room
 Tells on- old jests and tragedies
And little follies of her kin
 And futile old nobilities:

". . . If they had only done," she tells,
 "The thing that others said was wise
There would have been no death that year . . ."
 How fast her tiny shuttle flies!

The stiff old pictures on the wall,
 Who were those passionate girls and men
So sure of Youth and Righteousness,
 Look dully on the Now from Then;

And I look past her out the glass
 Where young Today goes to and fro . . .
But all she sees was past a change
 A changeless fifty years ago.


2
THE GRAY MASK
I wish I could not see her heart
 That is so passionate, so young,
For all love-words are said for her,
 All love-songs sung:

Over light griefs her eyes grow wet,
 Over gay silks her eyes grow gay,
She sighs, half-hopeful . . . "I forget
 My hair is gray-"

"I dreamed a lover came for me
 And courted me," she tells, "last night . . ."
Ah, kind dream-lover, who could find
 Such tired eyes bright!

And yet . . . Perhaps some lad in heaven
 Some day shall clasp her soul, and know
Unchanged, the little lass he left
 So long ago.


3
THE SEEKER
She was so full of restlessness,
 So ceaselessly went to and fro
That it was hard for us to guess
 What thing she wished to find or know:

Only the gifts the gray years brought
 So fretted her on cheek and brow-
Could it have been her youth she sought? . . .
 I hope that she has found it now.