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Forsaking All Others Part 3


THERE was an instant when he might have said
He could not see the lady; but instead
He nodded with a blank, impassive face,
And waited, never moving from his place
Beside the window, till a moment more
And she was there, leaning against the door
Which she had closed. She stood there, silent, staring,
Trembling with fear at her own act of daring,
But not with fear of him. Erect and slim,
White as the daytime moon, she spoke to him.

'I know,' she said, 'that it was not your plan
That we should ever meet: I know a man
Assumes despotic power, assumes his voice
In cases such as ours shall have the choice...

'But is that just, I ask... is that fair play
That you should have the right to throw away,
Crush and destroy and utterly deny
Our joint possession... or rather mine, for I
Value our friendship so much more than you
Appear to...' 'No,' he said, 'That is not true.'

She shook her head. 'Ah, if you thought it rare,
Precious and wonderful, you would not dare
Destroy it by yourself... not even you.'

He answered: 'I not only would. I do.
You speak of friendship. What a silly word,
And as dishonest as I ever heard.
Let us at least be candid, for God's sake,
And speak the truth... what difference does it make?
It is not friendship we are speaking of,
But the first moments of a passionate love....'

'You're wrong,' she cried, 'you're absolutely wrong.
Not everything emotional and strong
Between a man and woman needs must be
Physical love... People like you and me
Are wise enough and old enough to take
This fiery elemental thing and make
Something for every day, serene and cool...
I am not of the all-or-nothing school.'

He smiled. 'We light hell-fires, and you engage
They'll warm our palsied hands in our old age,'
At this she paused, and then she said:'Your tone
Wounds me. I live so terribly alone,
I am perhaps too eager for a friend...
But not a lover. Oh, please comprehend
I want no lovers. Think me vain or not
But I assure you I might have a lot
Of them. But friendship such as you could give -
Wisdom and strength and knowledge how to live
In this harsh world in which I draw my breath
With so much pain... it seems a sort of death
To yield so rich a promise... to forego
Such happiness..,' She heard him laugh. 'You know
All that is nonsense,' 'Nonsense? ' 'All but this.'
And on her willing lips she felt his kiss.


'I HAVE a new friend,' thought Lee, 'I have a lover,
Made of steel and fire as a lover ought to be,
And I do not much care if all the world discover
That I adore him madly and that he loves me.

'Everything I do nowadays is pleasant,­
Talking, walking, brushing out my hair­
Oh, isn't it fine a friend, not being even present,
Can give the world a meaning, and common things an air! '


O, AGONY infernal
That lovers undergo!
O, secret trysts diurnal
That nobody must know.
O, vigilance eternal
The whole world for a foe.

But Lee and Wayne were clever
And all that springtime through
They met and met, and never
Were noticed so to do.
And no one whatsoever
Suspected them - or knew.


LOVE in a city in spring,
Not so divine a thing
As love the poet dreams­
Meadows and brimming streams,
Yet there is much to say
For love in New York in May­
Parks set in tulip beds,
Yellows and whites and reds,
Japanese plums in flower
And that wisteria bower
Dripping its blossoms sweet
Over a rustic seat
Where tramps and nursemaids meet...

New York in early May
Breaks out in awnings gay;
Daisies and ivy trailing
From every window railing.
And at this time of year
Strange open hacks appear,
Shabby and old and low
Wherein strange couples go
Generally after dark,
Clop-clopping round the park.

And with it all, the loud,
Noisy, indifferent crowd
Offers to lovers shrewd
Infinite solitude.


FOUR thousand years ago a great king died,
And there were rites and hymns and long processions,
And he was buried in his pomp and pride,
With all his vast possessions.

Gold beds with lapis-lazuli inlay,
And chairs, and perfume jars of alabaster,
And many slaves were slain, lest they betray
The tomb that held their master.

Lee leant her hand upon his mummy case,
(Opened to show the gold and silver plating) ,
And as Wayne came her look was an embrace:
'Darling, I don't mind waiting.

'I like,' she said, 'to settle in my
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:00 min read

Alice Duer Miller

Alice Duer Miller was a writer from the U.S. whose poetry actively influenced political opinion. Her feminist verses made an impact on the suffrage issue, and her verse novel The White Cliffs encouraged U.S. entry into World War II. She also wrote novels and screenplays. more…

All Alice Duer Miller poems | Alice Duer Miller Books

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