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
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
and thumb at nose
how gaily I relate my fun;
yet my technique
some lacking shows
I don't fool anyone.
You opened the doors
of your heart and taught
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
sit in their corners
probing, hoping plums will come in view
I have noticed that, in life, Jack Horners
are surprisingly few.
oh, my dearest,
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,
for now I see
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
at futile sorrow,
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
a smiling lad
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
one mustn't do,
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
Santa Claus, my dear,
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
for me, my friend,
and pity not my ache,
because you see, my heart may bend
but it will never break!
Whene'er I see
a sign, "Wet Paint,"
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?
is my heart
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
and cool and calm,
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
is as a thing apart
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 don't love you,
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
were quite the least
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
so all-fired smart
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
Your wistful moments, God,
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
let the future go
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
which feeds desire
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
if you desert me,
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
would never last.
My love that fact denied.
But now I guess our love is past.
I hope you're satisfied!
I do not mind
the fleeting march of Time
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 were a simple maiden;
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.
I sell my thrills
to anyone who'll buy them,
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
by simply leaving
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
my deeds be touched
by an absurd regret
teach me not to expect too much
nor be dissatisfied with what I get.
I said I wouldn't
let doubt shake me,
yet it has, you see
but how could I know you would take me
Young as the evening,
but all alone
this picture lacks a certain touch.
You see that quiet telephone?
I'm hotbut I'm not bothered much!
I'm here wond'ring
where the hell Romeo is,
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
calm about this,
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
that I can hurt you
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
I'm going to steal
some memories of living,
to have when I'm too old to feel
the ecstasies of giving.
Like the mainland,
you, my sweet,
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
about the daffodils in spring,
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
you will forget my ways;
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
the way I feel
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 you gave me drink
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
I can't see,
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
to be on you,
but Life made me a smarty,
and by the time our love was through
I gave the party!
Tho we'd like to think
our love is everlasting
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
can make a tree
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.
Part 2: And Heart on Sleeve