With Tongue In Cheek
To an Impetuous Lover
You've Made Me Old
Thoughts Upon Approaching a Birthday
Pure in Heart
Thought at Thanksgiving
To a Wistful God
Bird in the Hand
Consolation at Thirty
The More Fool I
Explanation to a Resentful Lover
Plea For Contentment
On Second Thought
The Ant's Decision
A Very Sad Reflection
On Taking Love Lightly
Female of the Species
Sun and Moon
Whistle in the Dark
God's In a Thimble
Preface to Parting
And there must be one page set apart to thank Carl Haverlin for telling me the reason he wouldn't write my forewordBruce McCallister for telling me why he didn't like my formatGrant Dahlstrom for designing one that he wouldand all the others who eagerly answered "I will" when the little red hen first asked "Who will help me bake my bread?"
With tongue in cheek
how gaily I relate my fun;
yet my technique
some lacking shows
I don't fool anyone.
You opened the doors
me the art of a game called "Supposing"
Ah, doors are most wonderful things, I thought.
You seefor a moment I almost forgot
that doors have a habitof closing.
Altho lots of folks
probing, hoping plums will come in view
I have noticed that, in life, Jack Horners
are surprisingly few.
when I shrink back from your touch,
it's only from the sheerest
joy, because it means so much
to me to think you care,
I can not love you lightly
in just a casual affair
remember, just tonight, we
chanced upon each other's hearts.
Don't wonder that I doubt you,
who are so skilled in lover's arts
I could be mad about you;
but, tho I long to kiss you, sweet,
and feel your strong arms crush me
if you would make the thrill complete
my darlingnever rush me!!
You've made me old,
how very young I used to be
the things that I believed were true
the things I saidand thought I knew.
You've made me wise, for now I know
of this and that and so and so.
You've made me sad, for you reveal
the way I used to think and feel,
and you have made me realize
perhaps I'm older than I'm wise
perhaps there are degrees in age
I've passed the kindergarten stage
but may God bless the manor men
who makes me feel quite young again!
And I can smile
I who am too wise for tears,
I for whom no vague tomorrow
holds retributory fears;
and I make brilliant conversation,
speak of love in level tone;
but what a silly occupation
talking in your sleep, alone!
Tonight Love is
with bright and shining eyes.
Ah, Love, why must it make me sad
to know I am so wise?
Tonight Love says, "Be mine once more!"
I close my eyes and curse,
becauseI've heard that song before
I know the second verse!
There are so many things
so many creeds and rules ironclad and strong
and tho two people love and really long
to be together all the nighttime through
the woman is called bad, the man untrue,
if he is married, and their passion's song,
tho clear, must be denied, their love is wrong,
she mustn't do the things he wants her to.
It seems so strange that we must acquiesce
to standards so at variance with desire
and brand illicit every sweet caress
that sets our pulse aflame with unquenched fire
why must we let this bit of loveliness
be smothered 'neath conventions and expire?
You're just like
I see you only once a year
you bring your pack of tales, unmatched
in wonder, with no strings attached.
You speak of love that's deep, eternal
and once more I know flutters vernal
But also, just like Santa Claus
there is no you, nor ever was,
your love is just a cozy myth
I like to flatter myself with
the while I use with rueful laughter
the perfume I have named you after.
Oh, do not fear
and pity not my ache,
because you see, my heart may bend
but it will never break!
Whene'er I see
I always think perhaps it ain't;
but I have not found any yet
that hasn't been completely wet!
Where is he?
The tender lover of my girlhood fancy,
the Romeo who was my guiding star,
the dashing, gay and dauntless Lochinvar
who shared the fragile flowers of romance he
planted in my heart, where is he?
Who was he?
Could he perchance have passed along one day
disguised as John, in hopes that I would know
that in his heart he really was Pierrot?
Could he have come and swiftly gone away?
So many lads have I seen go, who was he?
Where am I?
The wide-eyed little girl who dared to hope
that life for her would be a pleasant thing
of dreams fulfilled, who used to gaily sing
and made believe with bubbles made of soap,
to whom Love was a King? Where is she, now?
Where did I go?
and in each tiny niche
I've stored away the sweetest part
of ev'ry love in which
I've gloried, and my heart is full
so many loves I've known,
and some day when the hours grow dull
and I am all alone
I'll take my heart that's made up of
the best of many men,
and pour its concentrated love
all over me again!
I used to be so sane
at least, that's how I like to think I was,
before love tossed my dormant heart a bomb
and wrapped my reason in shining gauze
which quite befogs me in a roseate cloud
of dreams come true. Now, suddenly I find
the various talents with which I'm endowed
clogged up and helpless in my febrile mind.
My thoughts are all at sea. I stultify
in happiness I've never known before.
Perhaps that's why I dread the day that I
perforce revert to normalcy once more.
My faith in you
from all the tumult in a world of flux
and vacillation, where love reconstructs
and readjusts itself at will. My heart,
in spite of all the pressure brought to bear
upon it, somehow, never stoops to doubt.
It stands immutable, while all about
is turbulence, and even when despair
seeps in, as it is wont to do at times,
and hope hangs low, its faith remains secure.
My head, however, is not quite so sure
and rears its skeptic self throughout my rhymes.
Do not think me
when my sorrow doesn't linger
when one has lost an arm
one doesn't cry to lose a finger.
It's not that
I hate to be the chaser
when one is born a pencil
one can't be an eraser!
If I were only
and hadn't seen the things I've seen
and hadn't done the things I've done
I'll bet you I'd be having fun!
Sweet words and smiles
life used to fatten up my heart
I didn't know that at love's feast
it was to play the turkey's part.
I thought I was
with my sophisticated heart
I knew the tricks of masculinity;
no more would I be led and swayed
by their dictation, nor dismayed
by bits of lovesick asininity.
Oh, yes, I was so positive
that love was what it was, that if
Prince Charming passed I'd never let him stay.
No more would I be torn apart
by love words I knew off by heart,
I was so hard, so scornful, and so gay.
And then without a single hint
my little heart of homemade flint
goes soft on me and everything goes blah,
and just when I am through with men
I'm damned if I don't fall again
what I need is a good bat on the jaw!
I'll bet You have
You cannot always be pleased with Your plans.
When You make things as intricate as man's
desires, You can't sit back and just applaud
Yourself forever, for a job well done.
You complicate his body with a soul
and when one has the other in control
the conflict isn't pretty, God, nor one
of which You could be proud or want to boast.
You have Your disappointments, too, I guess,
with all the silly people You must bless;
You give a man the things he wants the most
and find that he is still dissatisfied.
I do not mind because You wish an act
of Yours might go right just for once. In fact,
I'm glad that You're not smug and filled with pride.
It brings me, somehow, much closer to You,
You see, I have my wistful moments, too.
Please let us
and be content that we are here . . .
The only thing we really know
is that I love you, now, my dear.
You lit the flame
but you are not a good Boy Scout,
for Boy Scouts never leave a fire
until they've put the damn thing out!
Why can't I live
nor delve into the past,
why can't I take love gaily
nor long for it to last?
As long as we're together
and happy to be here,
why must I worry whether
regrets will come next year?
For some silly future sorrow
I refuse this hour's delight
must I always build tomorrow
on the way I feel tonight?
I don't care
I've had other loves before,
one more parting will not hurt me,
there will probably be more.
I don't mind if you forget me,
I've forgotten lots of men,
I'll forget you if you'll let me,
life will be more simple, then.
What if I mean nothing to you,
that won't break my heart you know
Lord! You don't believe me, do you?
Please, dear God, don't let him go!!
You said our love
My love that fact denied.
But now I guess our love is past.
I hope you're satisfied!
I do not mind
nor its accumulating mass of years
so comforting it is to know that I'm
at least becoming dry behind the ears.
It's not as tho
I know the ways of life and love and men,
how quickly joyous hearts are heavy laden,
how quickly hopes that rise can fall again.
It's not as tho I hadn't touched the fire.
I know how easily one's fingers burn,
I know the anticlimax of desire,
these things and many more I had to learn.
And yet, if love once more should come to seek me,
I'd probably fling open wide, my door,
and give my heart and soul to him completely,
forgetting all I ever learned before.
Waiting for a man
outside a door
of any kind,
or in a car,
waiting for a man
an hour or more
beneath a star,
waiting for a man
outside a store
I shouldn't mind
as it's this certain man
I'm waiting for,
I've lived to find
that most girls are
waiting for a man!
I sell my thrills
I sell my dreams and beautiful ideals,
I welcome new sensations and I try them,
then, later I get paid for how each feels.
I sell the fires of love that beat and surge in
my heart. I sell the breathless ecstasy
of raptures I imagined as a virgin
and what experience, afterwards taught me.
I take each sweet caress and analyze it,
describe it in detail with pen and ink,
and then I bless the editor who buys it,
and you should, too, for if you stop to think
you'd see just what a grand arrangement this is,
I really get my thrills two diff'rent times,
the first when I'm responding to your kisses,
the next when someone buys them in my rhymes!
And I shall not be free
the things I love in you. I can't pretend
that by a swift departure I can end
these countless hours I spend in self-deceiving
nor stop this senseless habit of believing,
of hoping some day splintered hearts will mend.
No, when I go I know I'll but append
another chapter to my book of grieving.
And not until I cease to think about you,
or hear your name and quite diff'rent be,
or mention various times I used to doubt you
as simple conversation, casually;
'til I have learned at night to dream without you
'til then, but not 'til then shall I be free!
And pray, let not
by an absurd regret
teach me not to expect too much
nor be dissatisfied with what I get.
I said I wouldn't
yet it has, you see
but how could I know you would take me
Young as the evening,
this picture lacks a certain touch.
You see that quiet telephone?
I'm hotbut I'm not bothered much!
I'm here wond'ring
it looks as tho Love's lost its compass . . .
America must have felt something like this
before she was found by Columbus.
Lord, let me be
keep your lather for your maids.
Let me understand, without this
fear of calling spades just spades.
Say he's gone . . . Must Life be hectic?
Make me try to realize
I must not get apoplectic
just because an ideal dies.
Don't let my faith start to totter,
rocked by my stupidity;
must my blood turn into water
'cause a man's gone back on me?
Am I made of chaff and tissue?
Let this be the final proof,
and please help me, after this to
keep my heart aloof!
Don't ever let me know
but rather, let me think you wouldn't care
so very much if ever I desert you,
or prove to be unworthy or unfair.
Don't let me see your need, for it might blind me
to what I really feel, and in a way,
I am afraid I'd let that knowledge bind me,
for fear of hurting you, perhaps I'd stay.
My love must not be influenced by knowing
how desperately you depend on me.
I must not stay because I know my going
would cause you pain. My love needs must be free.
And yet, if you should do as I'm suggesting,
pretend indiff'rence should I stray afar,
I know I'd be the first to stop protesting . . .
Perhaps we'd better leave things as they are.
While I'm still young
some memories of living,
to have when I'm too old to feel
the ecstasies of giving.
Like the mainland,
are large and competently get things done
comparatively, I'm petite
but colorfuland lots more fun!
I've had my fun,
I sort of thought perhaps I would,
so hear my sad mistake.
My hands are empty, now,
tho I'll admit it tasted good,
I've eaten all my cake!
Oh, other poets write
the flitting of a butterfly at play;
the babbling of a brook, the way the little birdies sing,
and sundry other things which sound so gay;
and they can hide their tears and put their hearts upon the shelf
to sing for hours of some capricious caper.
But, no! I can't do that! I have to crucify myself
for all the world to see it there on paper!
In a little while
the sudden way I smile,
the way I twist a phrase;
the simple things it takes
for me to be content,
and everything that makes
You laugh now at my threat,
and make me swift denial,
but I know you'll forget
in a little while.
two more clear-cut eyes;
and up above,
the moon, and stars, and skies;
a softer cheek,
and lips to trace it tenderly;
and after this,
If only I could write
with all the fire that fills my lonely state
perhaps, then all my writing would be real
could every pore become articulate.
And yet the way I feel is wrong, or so
"they" tell me, guessing passion I conceal.
That's why I'm forced to write like this and know
that only you can right the way I feel.
Because I was thirsty
and comforted me, I don't want you to think
that I take you seriously. Dearest, I know
that I'm only one in a very long row
of damsels to whom you have been just this kind;
and, please understand me. It's not that I mind
in fact, I prefer it should be like this
but may I remember it each time we kiss!
And you can leave me
and never try to see my face again?
Oh, God, how very diff'rently
You made women love than men!
Forgotten when we
the day and the way that we met?
One can say one's forgotten forever,
butone doesn't forget.
There are lots of things
but here's one thing that I know:
in the spring a young man's fancy
and an old one's not so slow.
The joke was going
but Life made me a smarty,
and by the time our love was through
I gave the party!
Tho we'd like to think
and pretend it will grow deeper year by year,
it's impossible to change our fate's forecasting
this is really just a passion fancy, dear.
They tell me only God
and that He watches every sparrow's flight . . .
And yet it seems I have enough in me
alone, to keep Him busy day and night.
I always knew
and waited patiently,
but, I hardly knew that you were here,
you came so quietly!
I know, now
the love affairs that I once knew,
were simply little ladders, dear,
that I was climbing up to you!
I'd like to think
can make the day and night
while the most that I can ever do
is to reflect your light.
God, try to make me big
to love him in the way that suits Your plan;
and make these quickly passing moments long enough
to last us each a lifetime, if You can.
Don't make me weak after You once have made me brave
and taught me courage. Help me to take pride
that it was to my tiny singing heart You gave
his glorious love; that I was at his side
for one clear shining instant. Let me be content
to know his truest heart is mine, altho
his life must, of necessity, always be spent
away from me; and when You've made him go
give me the strength to keep his mem'ry ever fresh,
in spite of all the agony it brings
because You framed this soul of mine in silly flesh
that aches and writhes and longs for all the things
it is denied. I'm not the kind that moans and hunts
for some excuse to pester You with prayer,
but please, take time out from Your sparrows just this once
for meYou'll not be sorry, God, I swear.
How will I fill my time
who fill my pulsing body, heart and mind?
What can I ever find for me to do?
What is there that is left for me to find?
Such was my frightened cry when first you left,
for then I could not think of anything
except that with you gone I'd be bereft
of all the things I knew our love could bring.
Together we had found so very much
of loveliness, I knew none could remain,
and every single memory I'd clutch
I thought would ultimately bring me pain
for that it could not be renewed.
That is not true. So fully did we live
each moment of our fleeting interlude
that we know life has nothing more to give;
no joy more poignant than joy we have known,
no star more brilliant than stars we have seen,
too close we've been to ever be alone
again. We've learned all life can mean.
That knowledge is a white torch shining clear
to light the way I go, triumphantly.
How fill my time away from you? My dear,
there isn't any suchnor can there be!
We're really equals,
in everything we do;
you say such lovely things to me,
but I think them of you!
I knew it had to be
and since it came to one of us
I'm glad it came to me!
Now, there'll be
except the love you make
I was satisfied with bread, you see,
until I tasted cake!
God's in a thimble
or ten times as large as the sea.
He's mostly in heaven, but sometimes He's not,
'cause sometimes He's right here in me!
Of course, it's not for me
the way that You have planned it
You're the Boss and what You say must go.
Sure! Break my heart, but why not make me wise
enough to understand it?
It's this awful wond'ring that hurts me so!
Dear God, I do not worry
Your laws are fundamental and organic,
I know I am completely in Your power;
so now it's rather fun to just keep score
and see how many times mad, senseless panic
can down my reasoned calm within an hour.
If only I could live
nor think of what is past, nor what's to be,
that is my only prayer, my only plea;
I do not beg to be forever gay,
for flowers to be strewn along my way,
but only for the courage to be free
of small regrets, of hope's stupidity,
and to accept the present. This I pray:
Give me this day my daily bread, no more.
Just let me live each moment 'til it dies,
and should life offer love, let me adore
for one brief instant, asking for no ties
to join the future to what's gone before,
and tho I seem a fool, I shall be wise.
Five days God worked
the very best that He'd created
and then He sat with brow all furled,
the whole thing seemed so complicated.
"I'll have to have some help, somehow,
in passing on this life to others"
The answer came. He smoothed His brow
and on the sixth day He made mothers,
and babies were. And life went on
maternity was deep invested
in woman's heartGod's cares were gone
and on the seventh day He rested.
In just a little while
and all these things I've learned to love will stay,
but I shall spend no time in useless grieving
when I at last find strength to break away.
I'll not look back upon this life regretting
that it remains the while I have to go,
I shall not even waste time in forgetting;
this present sorrow's all that I shall know.
But now my eyes ache, hiding tears, pretending
these hours will just continue on and on,
while in my heart I know it all is ending,
and in a little while I shall be gone.
So many things
in gallant moments fleet and full,
we've thought and seen and felt as one,
so now how can I ever pull
myself away and live apart
from you who are my very breath?
Divide the beating from the heart,
what else can there result but death?
And yet, unfortunately, I
am living life, not simple verse,
so I shall go, nor shall I die
a lonely ache requires no hearse.
There's no more loveliness
but I don't give a whoop,
'cause I took all there'll ever be
in one fell swoop!
There's no more happiness in store,
the thought does not appall,
'cause I do not want any more
I've got it all!
You made my life
then left me on this lonely bed,
with no instructions how to fill
the chiliads of hours ahead.
And so I do the things I must
from habit, things I've always done,
and no one knows but me I'm just
a silly old automaton.
And there shall be
when we at last are come to say goodby,
but simply and unfalteringly I
will place my faith with yours and break the spell
that will return us to the world of men
to do and say the ordinary things
And there shall be no tears because we part,
no pain for that I shall see you no more
but rather I shall seal what's gone before
hermetically within my grateful heart
to keep me glad. There shall be no regret,
no struggle either to remember or
We two have stooped to touch the stars and thus
altho we part, there shall be no goodby
I stumble through the age-drenched corridors of time,
and grope my way along its tear-wet walls.
The banisters I cling to crumble 'neath me as I climb
the endless stairs which join the darkened halls.
With hands outstretched and eyes which stare and peer into the gloom,
I wearily plod on from floor to floor,
but ev'ry door is locked to me, I cannot find my room,
I don't remember being here before,
I'm frightened of the cold and dark, I know not where to go,
I must lean on You, God, I have to pray,
I am not brave and strong, I'm weak and cowardly, I know,
but it's so difficult for me to find the way.
So sudden was the way
so starved was I for what you had to give
I could not, dared not grasp the truth. I live
once more and I am strong and free!
So brilliant was the light you held for me,
so used to darkness were my eyes, I fear
I was half blind at first, but now, my dear,
my eyes are opened wide and I can see!
So lovely were the things you said to me,
so long had I been waiting for your words ,
I scarce could trust my ears, but what I heard
still echoes in my heart incessantly!
I knew that we
with suddenness and violence and pain,
not knowing which would be our farewell kiss
'til after weeks of absence made it plain.
I knew it had to be some circumstance
beyond our power to alter or control.
We would not acquiesce were there a chance
to cling to the brief happiness we stole.
I knew, so long I'd lived in constant dread
of the impending moment when we'd part,
that when it came, there'd be a sort of dead
serenity in my long fevered heart.
I knew that there would not be any grief
no crying wall to beat for you and me
instead, we'd feel a rather fierce relief
at being forced to face finality.
God, I've done everything
to keep our love from going on the rocks,
and tho I hate to have to bother You,
I cannot help myself. This fairly knocks
me off my feet, altho I should have known
I was expecting too much. As a rule
I have more sense but I guess I have grown
so used to loving him that, like a fool,
I didn't stop to think it might not last.
I thought, "This time Love's really on the square
with me," but now I realize the vast
mistake I made, and so I send this prayer
in hopes it's not too late to ask Your aid.
If You'll just help me now, I'll not forget
this seems to me, of all the times I've prayed
the most important thing I've asked, as yet.
So couldn't You, this once, see Your way clear
to save our love and make things as they were
I've done my best and failed, that's why I'm here
the miracles are Your department, Sir.
what valentines life has in store
to drop beside your waiting door
will they bring grief or joy?
And if it's grief, will you be strong
and keep that little head on high,
nor ever let those wide eyes cry,
for that life's jumbled up and wrong?
Oh, little boy, so fresh and fine
with all your days so shiny new,
what valentines are there for you?
Please God, send them from love like mine!
And there shall be no need
who understood her most and loved her best.
You know her heart, tho' stilled within her breast
will pulse and throb throughout eternity
in lovely things. 'Tis God's consistency.
There is no death, there's only constant change.
When night turns into day'tis not so strange,
and night, for her, has dawned to brilliancy.
One does not mourn to see a butterfly
emerge with splendor from an old cocoon,
nor weep when spring ends wintertime nor sigh
at ever-varying stages of the moon.
In ev'ry gentle breeze you'll feel her breath
and you'll look up and smile . . . There is no death!
You cannot tell
what happiness or sorrow lies in wait
behind the screen of hours yet to be.
Nobody knows. We can't anticipate
tomorrow's sun, nor its apostrophe.
There was no way for us to look ahead
and see that you so quickly were to go;
there are so many things you would have said,
so many things you'd like to have me know.
How could we guess that you'd so soon be gone,
without a chance to even say goodby,
that all the lovely things we had planned on
so confidently were so soon to die.
And you who love to help so very much
would never leave me thus. I know you long
to give to me some reassuring touch
to show the way; to teach me to be strong.
I ache to understand the why and how,
so, knowing, as I do, your thoughts so well,
the hardest part for you must be that now
you know the answers for me and
you cannot tell.
I smile at the sweet things
but don't you realize,
the reason I smile is so you won't see
the tears behind my eyes?
Now that it's through
my aches and my bruises and scars
what if my eyes are all snarled up with tears
my thoughts are a tangle of stars!