P.C. Home Page . Recent Additions
Poets' Corner Logo

    James Elroy Flecker

    Back to John Drinkwater
    Forward to Wilfrid Wilson Gibson


    Joseph and Mary

    Joseph

      Mary, art thou the litttle maid
      Who plucked me flowers in Spring?
      I know thee not; I feel afraid:
      Thou'rt strange this evening.

      A sweet and rustic girl I won
      What time the woods were green;
      No woman with deep eyes that shone,
      And the pale brows of a Queen.

    Mary (inattentive to his words)

      A stranger came with feet of flame
      And told me this strange thing, --
      For all I was a village maid
      My son should be a King.

    Joseph

      A King, dear wife? Who ever knew
      Of Kings in stables born!

    Mary

      Do you hear, in the dark and starlit blue
      The clarion and the horn?

    Joseph

      Mary, alas, lest grief and joy
      Have sent thy wits away;
      But let me look on this my boy,
      And take the wraps away.
    Mary
      Behold the lad.

    Joseph

                I dare not gaze:
      Light streams from every limb.

    Mary

      The winter sun has stored his rays,
      And passed the fire to him.

      Look Eastward, look! I hear a sound,
      O Joseph, what do you see?

    Joseph

      The snow lies quiet on the ground
      And glistens on the tree;

      The sky is bright with a star's great light,
      And clearly I behold
      Three Kings descending yonder hill,
      Whose crowns are crowns of gold.

      O Mary, what do you hear and see
      With your brow toward the West?

    Mary

      The snow lies glisening on the tree
      And silent on Earth's breast;

      And strong and tall, with lifted eyes
      Seven shepherds walk this way,
      And angels breaking from the skies
      Dance, and sing hymns, and pray.

    Joseph

      I wonder much at these bright Kings;
      The shepherds I despise.

    Mary

      You know not what a shepherd sings,
      Nor see his shining eyes.


    The Queen's Song

      Had I the power
      To Midas given of old
      To touch a flower
      And leave the petals gold,
      I then might touch thy face,
      Delightful boy,
      And leave a metal grace,
      A graven joy.

      Thus would I slay --
      Ah, desperate device!
      The vital day
      That trembles in thine eyes,
      And let the red lips close
      Which sang so well,
      And drive away the rose
      To leave a shell.

      Then I myself,
      Rising austere and dumb,
      On the high shelf
      Of my half-lighted room,
      Would place the shining bust
      And wait alone,
      Until I was but dust,
      Buried unknown.

      Thus in my love
      For nations yet unborn,
      I would remove
      From our two lives the morn,
      And muse on loveliness
      In mine armchair,
      Content should Time confess
      How sweet you were.


    Back to John Drinkwater
    Forward to Wilfrid Wilson Gibson

Poets' Corner . H O M E . E-mail