Alice Duer Miller

The Party

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.






THE house is bright with lights and lights,
Like a palace in the Arabian Nights,
Lights in festoons and lights in clusters,
In chandeliers and crystal lustres;
And all the length of the stairs' broad way,
Tapestries green and pink and gray
Tell a story of ladies' bowers
Hung with apples and paved with flowers;
And beyond, an open arch discloses
An inner garden of palms and roses,
With lines of lilies against the walls,
And a fountain that falls - and waits - and falls.
And from the ballroom comes the beat
Of dance music and dancing feet,
And through the doorways of gold and glass
Figures of dancers pass and pass,
Lovely creatures in dripping laces,
And all have sad, unhopeful faces.
One person only yields to joy,
And he is a footman - a round-faced boy -
Stiff in a livery of black and green,
And he laughs at something heard or seen,
Laughs with a loud and lonely gladness,
Laughs perhaps at the dancers' sadness;
He only seemed for an instant gay,
And he was instantly sent away.

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