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

    Harold Monro

    Back to John Masefield
    Forward to James Stephens

    Milk for the Cat

      When the tea is brought at five o'clock,
      And all the neat curtains are drawn with care,
      The little black cat with bright green eyes
      Is suddenly purring there.

      At first she pretends, having nothing to do,
      She has come in merely to blink by the grate,
      But, though tea may be late or the milk may be sour,
      She is never late.

      And presently her agate eyes
      Take a soft large milky haze,
      And her independent casual glance
      Becomes a stiff, hard gaze.

      Then she stamps her claws or lifts her ears,
      Or twists her tail and begins to stir,
      Till suddenly all her lithe body becomes
      One breathing, trembling purr.

      The children eat and wriggle and laugh;
      The two old ladies stroke their silk:
      But the cat is grown small and thin with desire,
      Transformed to a creeping lust for milk.

      The white saucer like some full moon descends
      At last from the clouds of the table above;
      She sighs and dreams and thrills and glows,
      Transfigured with love.

      She nestles over the shining rim,
      Buries her chin in the creamy sea;
      Her tail hangs loose; each drowsy paw
      Is doubled under each bending knee.

      A long, dim ecstasy holds her life;
      Her world is an infinite shapeless white,
      Till her tongue has curled the last holy drop,
      Then she sinks back into the night,

      Draws and dips her body to heap
      Her sleepy nerves in the great arm-chair,
      Lies defeated and buried deep
      Three or four hours unconscious there.

    Overheard on a Salmarsh

      Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?

      Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?

      Give them me.

      Give them me. Give them me.

      Then I will howl all night in the reeds,
      Lie in the mud and howl for them.

      Goblin, why do you love them so?

      They are better than stars or water,
      Better than voices of winds that sing,
      Better than any man's fair daughter,
      Your green glass beads on a silver ring.

      Hush, I stole them out of the moon.

      Give me your beads, I want them.

      I will howl in the deep lagoon
      For your green glass beads, I love them so.
      Give thme me. Give them.

    Children of Love

      The holy boy
      Went from his mother out in the cool of the day
      Over the sun-parched fields
      And in among the olives shining green and shining grey.

      There was no sound,
      No smallest voice of any shivering stream.
      Poor sinless little boy,
      He desired to play and to sing; he could only sigh and dream.

      Suddenly came
      Running along to him naked, with curly hair,
      That rogue of the lovely world,
      That other beautiful child whom the virgin Venus bare.

      The holy boy
      Gazed with those sad blue eyes that all men know.
      Impudent Cupid stood
      Panting, holding an arrow and pointing his bow.

      (Will you not play?
      Jesus, run to him, run to him, swift for our joy.
      Is he not holy, like you?
      Are you afraid of his arrows, O beautiful dreaming boy?)

      And now they stand
      Watching one another with timid gaze;
      Youth has met youth in the wood,
      But holiness will not change its melancholy ways.

      Cupid at last
      Draws his bow and softly lets fly a dart.
      Smile for a moment, sad world! --
      It has grazed the white skin and drawn blood from the sorrowful heart.

      Now, for delight,
      Cupid tosses his locks and goes wantonly near;
      But the child that was born to the cross
      Has let fall on his cheek, for the sadness of life, a compassionate tear.

      Marvellous dream!
      Cupid has offered his arrows for Jesus to try
      He as offered his bow for the game.
      But Jesus went weeping away, and left him there wondering why.

    Back to John Masefield
    Forward to James Stephens

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