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Do you remember still the little song

Lesbia Harford 1891 (Brighton) – 1927 (Australia)

Do you remember still the little song
I mumbled on the hill at Aura, how
I told you it was made for Katie's sake
When I was fresh from school and loving her
With all the strength of girlhood? And you said
You liked my song, although I didn't know
How it began at first and gabbled then
In a half voice, because I was too shy
To speak aloud, much less to speak them out —
Words I had joined myself — in the full voice
And with the lilt of proper poetry.
You could have hardly heard me. Here's the girl,
The little girl from school you never knew.
She made this song. Read what you couldn't hear.
How bright the windows are
When the dear sun shineth.
They strive to reflect the sun,
To be bright like the sun,
To give heat like the sun.
My heart too has its chosen one
And so to shine designeth.
The windows on the opposite hill that day
Shone bright at sunset too and made me think
Of the old patter I had half forgot,
Do you remember? I remind you now,
Who wandered yesterday for half an hour
Into St Francis, where I thought of you
And how I would be glad to love you well
If I but knew the way. The rhyme came back
Teasing me till I knew I hated it.
I couldn't take that way of loving you.
That was the girl's way. Hear the woman now.
Out of my thinking in the lonely church
And the day's labour in a friendly room
Tumbled a song this morning you will like.
I love my love
But I could not be
Good for his sake.
That frightens me.
Nor could I do
Such things as I should
Just for the sake
Of being good.
Deeds are too great
To serve my whim,
Be ways of loving
Myself or him.
Whether my deeds
Are good or ill
They're done for their own,
Not love's sake, still.
I didn't know it till the song was done
But that's Ramiro in a nutshell, eh,
With his contempt for individual souls
And setting of the deed above the man.
Perhaps I like him better than I thought,
Or would like, if he'd give me leave to scorn
Chameleon, adjectival good and ill
And set the deed so far above the man
As to be out of reach of morals too.
There you and I join issue once again.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:09 min read
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Lesbia Harford

Lesbia Harford was an Australian poet, novelist and political activist. more…

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