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A Crooked Nose And Eyes Behind Her Glasses

A Crooked Nose And Eyes Behind Her Glasses
Grey And Bright And Wise—A Great Soul
Ready To Lay Down Her Life For Her Charge And Ready
To Administer Discipline Without Consulting Me
"Is That The Way For You To Answer My Leddy?
I Think You"Ll Get No Sweet Tonight To Your Tea."

Bringing Him Up Better Than I Could Do It
Teaching Him To Be Civil And Manly And Cool
In The Face Of Danger. And Then Before I Knew It
The Time Came For Him To Go Off To School.

Off To School To Be Free Of Women"S Teaching
Into A World Of Men— At Seven Years Old
Into A World Where A Mother"S Hands Vainly Reaching
Will Never Again Caress And Comfort And Hold.

My Father Came Over Now And Then
To Look At The Boy And Talk To Me
Never Staying Long
For The Urge Was Strong
To Get Back To His Yawl And The Summer Sea.
He Came Like A Nomad Passing By
Hands In His Pockets Hat Over One Eye
Teasing Every One Great And Small
With A Blank Straight Face And A Yankee Drawl
Teasing The Vicar On Apostolic Succession
And What The Thirty Nine Articles Really Meant To Convey
Teasing Nanny Though He Did Not
Make Much Impression
On That Imperturbable Scot.
Teasing Our Local Grandee A Noble Peer
Who Firmly Believed The Ten Lost Tribes
Of Israel Had Settled Here—
A Theory My Father Had At His Fingers" Ends—
Only One Person Was Always Safe From His Jibes—
My Mother In Law For They Were Really Friends.

Oh To Come Home To Your Country
After Long Years Away
To See The Tall Shining Towers
Rise Over The Rim Of The Bay
To Feel The West Wind Steadily Blowing
And The Sunshine Golden And Hot
To Speak To Each Man As An Equal
Whether He Is Or Not.

Was This America—This My Home?
Prohibition And Teapot Dome—
Speakeasies Night Clubs Illicit Stills
Dark Faces Peering Behind Dark Grills
Hold Ups Kidnappings Hootch Or Booze—
Every One Gambling—You Just Can"T Lose
Was This My Country? Even The Bay
At Home Was Altered Strange Ships Lay
At Anchor Deserted Day After Day
Old Yachts In A Rusty Dim Decay—
Like Ladies Going The Primrose Way—
At Anchor Until When The Moon Was Black
They Sailed And Often Never Came Back.

Even My Father"S Puritan Drawl
Told Me Shyly He"D Sold His Yawl
For A Fabulous Price To The Constable"S Son—
My Childhood"S Playmate Thought To Be One
Of A Criminal Gang Rum Runners All
Such Clever Fellows With So Much Money—
Even The Constable Found It Funny
Until One Morning His Son Was Found
Floating Dead In Long Island Sound.
Was This My Country? It Seemed Like Heaven
To Get Back Dull And Secure To Devon
Loyally Hiding From Lady Jean
And My English Friends The Horrors I"D Seen.

That Year She Died My Nearest Dearest Friend
Lady Jean Died Heroic To The End.
The Family Stood About Her Grave But None
Mourned Her As I Did. After One By One
They Slipped Away—Peter And Bill—My Son
Went Back To School. I Hardly Was Aware
Of Percy"S Lovely Widow Sitting There
In The Old Room In Lady Jean"S Own Chair.
An English Beauty Glacially Fair
Was Percy"S Widow Rosamund Her Hair
Was Silver Gilt And Smooth As Silk And Fine
Her Eyes Sea Green Slanted Away From Mine
From Any One"S As If To Meet The Gaze
Of Others Was Too Intimate A Phase
For One As Cool And Beautiful As She.

We Were Not Friends Or Foes. She Seemed To Be
Always A Little Irked— Fretted To Find
That Other Women Lived Among Mankind.
Now For The First Time After Years Of Meeting
Never Exchanging More Than Formal Greeting
She Spoke To Me— That Sharp Determined Way
People Will Speak When They Have Things To Say.

Rosamund Susan Go Home With Your Offspring. Fly.
Live In America. Susan Rosamund Why?
Rosamund Why My Dear Girl Haven"T You Seen
What English Country Life Can Mean
With Too Small An Income To Keep The Place
Going? Already I Think I Trace
A Change In You You No Longer Care
So Much How You Look Or What You Wear.
That Coat And Skirt You Have On You Know
You Wouldn"T Have Worn Them Ten Years Ago.
Those Thick Warm Stockings— They Make Me Sad
Your Ankles Were Ankles To Drive Men Mad.
Look At Your Hair— You Need A Wave.
Get Out— Go Home— Be Hard— Be Brave
Or Else Believe Me You"Ll Be A Slave.
There"S Something In You— Dutiful— Meek—
You"Ll Be Saving Your Pin Money Every Week
To Mend The Roof. Well Let It Leak.
Why Should You Care? Susan But I Do Care
John Loved This Place And My Boy"S The Heir.

Rosamund The Heir To What? To A Tiresome Life
Drinking Tea With The Vicar"S Wife
Opening Bazaars And Taking The Chair
At Meetings For Causes That You Don"T Care
Sixpence About And Never Will
Breaking Your Heart Over Every Bill.
I"Ve Been In The States Where Everyone
Even The Poor Have A Little Fun.

Don"T Condemn Your Son To Be
A Penniless Country Squire. He
Would Be Happier Driving A Tram Over There
Than Mouldering His Life Away As Heir.
Susan Rosamund Dear This May All Be True.
I"M An American Through And Through.
I Don"T See Things As The English Do
But It"S Clearly My Duty It Seems To Me
To Bring Up John"S Son Like Him To Be
A Country Squire—Poor Alas
But True To That English Upper Class
That Does Not Change And Does Not Pass.

Rosamund Nonsense It"S Come To An Absolute Stop.
Twenty Years Since We Sat On Top
Of The World Amusing Ourselves And Sneering
At Other Manners And Customs Jeering
At Other Nations Living In Clover—
Not Any More. That"S Done And Over.
No One Nowadays Cares A Button
For The Upper Classes— They"Re Dead As Mutton.
Go Home. Susan I Notice That You Don"T Go.

Rosamund My Dear That Shows How Little You Know.
I"M Escaping The Fate Of My Peers
Marrying One Of The Profiteers
Who Hasn"T An "Aitch" Where An "Aitch" Should Be
But Millions And Millions To Spend On Me.
Not Much Fun— But There Wasn"T Any
Other Way Out. I Haven"T A Penny.
But With You It"S Different. You Can Go Away
And Oh What A Fool You"D Be To Stay.

Rabbits In The Park
Scuttling As We Pass
Little White Tails
Against The Green Grass.
"Next Time Mother
I Must Really Bring A Gun
I Know You Don"T Like Shooting
But— " John"S Own Son
That Blond Bowed Face
Those Clear Steady Eyes
Hard To Be Certain
That The Dead Don"T Rise.
Jogging On His Pony
Through The Autumn Day
"Bad Year For Fruit Mother
But Good Salt Hay."
Bowling For The Village
As His Father Had Before
Coming Home At Evening
To Read The Cricket Score
Back To The Old House
Where All His Race Belong
Tired And Contented—
Rosamund Was Wrong.

If Some Immortal Strangers Walked Our Land
And Heard Of Death How Could They Understand
That We—Doomed Creatures—Draw Our Meted Breath
Light Heartedly—All Unconcerned With Death.
So In These Years Between The Wars Did Men
From Happier Continents Look On Us When
They Brought Us Sympathy And Saw Us Stand
Like The Proverbial Ostrich Head In Sand—
While Youth Passed Resolutions Not To Fight
And Statesmen Muttered Everything Was Right—
Germany A Kindly Much Ill Treated Nation—
Russia Was Working Out Her Own Salvation
Within Her Borders. As For Spain Ah Spain
Would Buy From England When Peace Came Again
I Listened And Believed— Believed Through Sheer
Terror. I Could Not Look Whither My Fear
Pointed— That Agony That I Had Known.
I Closed My Eyes And Was Not Alone.

Later Than Many Earlier Than Some
I Knew The Die Was Cast— That War Must Come
That War Must Come. Night After Night I Lay
Steeling A Broken Heart To Face The Day
When He My Son— Would Tread The Very Same
Path That His Father Trod. When The Day Came
I Was Not Steeled— Not Ready. Foolish Wild
Words Issued From My Lips— "My Child My Child
Why Should You Die For England Too?" He Smiled
"Is She Not Worth It If I Must?" He Said.
John Would Have Answered Yes— But John Was Dead.

Is She Worth Dying For? My Love My One
And Only Love Had Died And Now His Son
Asks Me His Alien Mother To Assay
The Worth Of England To Mankind Today—
This Other Eden Demi Paradise
This Fortress Built By Nature For Herself
Against Infection And The Hand Of War
This Happy Breed Of Men This Little World
This Precious Stone Set In The Silver Sea—
Ah No Not That—Not Shakespeare—I Must Be
A Sterner Critic. I Must Weigh The Ill
Against The Good Must Strike The Balance Till
I Know The Answer— True For Me Alone—
What Is She Worth— This Country— Not My Own?

I Thought Of My Father"S Deep Traditional Wrath
Against England— The Redcoat Bully— The Ancient Foe—
That Second Reaping Of Hate That Aftermath
Of A Ruler"S Folly And Ignorance Long Ago—
Long Long Ago— Yet Who Can Honestly Say
England Is Utterly Changed— Not I— Not I.
Arrogance Ignorance Folly Are Here Today
And For These My Son Must Die?
I Thought Of These Years These Last Dark Terrible Years
When The Leaders Of England Bade The English Believe
Lies At The Price Of Peace Lies And Fears
Lies That Corrupt And Fears That Sap And Deceive.
I Though Of The Bars Dividing Man From Man
Invisible Bars That The Humble May Not Pass
And How No Pride Is Uglier Crueller Than
The Pride Unchecked Of Class.
Oh Those Invisible Bars Of Manners And Speech
Ways That The Proud Man Will Not Teach
The Humble Lest They Too Reach
Those Splendid Heights Where A Little Band
Have Always Stood And Will Always Stand
Ruling The Fate Of This Small Green Land
Rulers Of England—For Them Must I
Send Out My Only Son To Die?

And Then And Then
I Thought Of Elizabeth Stepping Down
Over The Stones Of Plymouth Town
To Welcome Her Sailors Common Men
She Herself As She Used To Say
Being" Mere English" As Much As They—
Seafaring Men Who Sailed Away
From Rocky Inlet And Wooded Bay
Free Men Undisciplined Uncontrolled
Some Of Them Pirates And All Of Them Bold
Feeling Their Fate Was England"S Fate
Coming To Save It A Little Late
Much Too Late For The Easy Way
Much Too Late And Yet Never Quite
Too Late To Win In That Last Worst Fight.

And I Thought Of Hampden And Men Like Him
St John And Eliot Cromwell And Pym
Standing Firm Through The Dreadful Years
When The Chasm Was Opening Widening
Between The Commons And The King
I Thought Of The Commons In Tears— In Tears
When Black Rod Knocked At Parliament"S Door
And They Saw Rebellion Straight Before—
Weeping And Yet As Hard As Stone
Knowing What The English Have Always Known
Since Then— And Perhaps Have Known Alone—
Something That None Can Teach Or Tell—
The Moment When God"S Voice Says "Rebel."

Not To Rise Up In Sudden Gust
Of Passion— Not Though The Cause Be Just
Not To Submit So Long That Hate
Lava Torrents Break Out And Spill
Over The Land In A Fiery Spate
Not To Submit For Ever Until
The Will Of The Country Is One Man"S Will
And Every Soul In The Whole Land Shrinks
From Thinking—Except As His Neighbour Thinks.
Men Who Have Governed England Know
That Dreadful Line That They May Not Pass
And Live. Elizabeth Long Ago
Honoured And Loved And Bold As Brass
Daring And Subtle Arrogant Clever
English Too To Her Stiff Backbone
Somewhat A Bully Like Her Own
Father— Yet Even Elizabeth Never
Dared To Oppose The Sullen Might
Of The English Standing Upon A Right.

And Were They Not English Our Forefathers Never More
English Than When They Shook The Dust Of Her Sod
From Their Feet For Ever Angrily Seeking A Shore
Where In His Own Way A Man Might Worship His God.
Never More English Than When They Dared To Be
Rebels Against Her That Stem Intractable Sense
Of That Which No Man Can Stomach And Still Be Free
Writing "When In The Course Of Human Events. . ."
Writing It Out So All The World Could See
Whence Come The Powers Of All Just Governments.
The Tree Of Liberty Grew And Changed And Spread
But The Seed Was English.
I Am American Bred
I Have Seen Much To Hate Here— Much To Forgive
But In A World Where England Is Finished And Dead
I Do Not Wish To Live..

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by:- admin posted in:- alice duer miller

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