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BESS

The collie girl had the sense bred out of her,
But she had head and nose and points enough
To make her a queen, a fine queen with a ruff

Of satin and gold, you'd say, instead of fur.

She didn't deserve, no doubt, the hate she got—
She was so shy she'd keep for whole days hid.
Folks wanted a dog to do better than she did,

And thought it stubborn ungrateful, like as not.

Dede Graf, the new man, set himself to feed
And win her, and thought he'd keep her in the shed;
“Somebody's skeert her,” he'd say and wag his head.

He'd no more luck than others had, had Dede.

Until the poor, lonesome, howling girl got big,
And no doubt dreamful of her pups to come.
One night she crept up shivering and dumb,

And he saw her crouching underneath the rig.

Lord, when he'd touched her once she was like a child!
She'd cry and laugh together for the fun
Of feeling his hand on her, and then she'd run

Like a curled streak of gold, that made him wild !

Before the pups came he had her at his call,
And other folk grew soft to her a bit.
She was a beauty, that was all of it, .

And Dede was envied while the dogs were small.

She weaned them, and two died and the rest were given;
And Bess got offish as she was before.
Deed lured and wheedled and shook his fist and swore—

His talk was somewhat strong when he was driven.

It went on that way for three years about.
She'd come to him and be a little saint,
Having her young; and then the crazy taint

Would get her when the young ones were turned out.

Dede was a Job for patience, and no less,
When she'd go shy again. He'd curse her leather,
Then at the sight of her like a tawny feather

Off in the field, he'd whine, “Hyuh, Bess!—come, Bess!”

He must have got to know her . . . When she died—
The fellow was five-foot-ten and like an ox;
Fearful to see too; pitted by smallpox—
Well, he broke up for days that time, and cried.
Orrick Johns

THE PAGEANT

Green the buds of Easter,
Warm the winds of May;
Autumn like a feaster
In merry disarray.
But Winter follows, tracks him down,
Winter in his ermine gown.

Youth in scarlet stockings,
Garlands for a crown,
Making mouths and mockings
After Age in brown.
But velvet never stood the rain,
And long's the road to the Keep o' Spain.

Love in silken weather
Never yet was slain;
But love must take to leather,
Hie him off again.
For Love must hang, the sheriff saith,
The grizzled, watchful sheriff Death.

- - - - - - - -

Morning, night and morrow,
On through life and time—
For all the cares we borrow,
For all the songs we rhyme:
Love and Youth will roister so,
And Age is patient, Death is slow.
Thomas Wood Stevens)

ON THE ROAD

SONG OF YOUNG BURBAGE

The goat that rubbed my knees last night
And left his ancient smell

Maddened my heart that I was what
A hornèd goat could tell.

For if his favor singled me
Out of the passing crowd,

I know I'm not too well disguised
Nor yet too worldly proud.

Most difficult it is today
Beneath a coat and vest:

I fear my old identity
May fade with all the rest.

But I'll go back to hill and sky
And hold a colloquy:

I need those ancient presences
Whose tumult still is—me!

THE HERD BOY

The night I brought the cows home
Blue mist was in the air,

And in my heart was heaven
And on my lips a prayer.

I raised my arms above me,
I stretched them wide apart,

And all the world was pressing
In beauty on my heart.

The lane led by a river
Along an ancient wood,

And ancient thoughts came softly
As with the leaves they should.

I hung the cows with garlands,
And proud they walked before;

While mother-naked after
A laurel branch I bore.

SHOES

I cannot put the old shoes on,
They're too far gone for wear—

And yet I cannot quite assume
My newly purchased pair.

The difficulty is extreme.
Since shoes are such a trial,

I guess that I’d go happier
Barefoot for a while.

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