Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When first we met

[From The Recollections of John William Llewellyn, c. 1933]

When first we met, you were selling
bunches of wildflowers along
the dusty Manchester Road. I felt
something akin to sanctifying grace
in the bright felicity of your smile.
You and your little sisters were asking
a ha'penny for your bouquets, and when
I placed five pence in your pretty hand,
you drew a quick breath and looked at me
with confused delight. The giggles of your sisters
as they passed around the coins was like
a tree full of sparrows in the dewy morning.
You thanked me more with your eyes than with
your whispered words. You then looked down
at your boots which were stirring the dust.
Your mother called from down the way
and laughing you all hurried, hand in hand
and with white dresses fluttering, to show
her your small fortune. You waved back to me
and smiled. Tipping my hat, I resumed
my own travel, carrying away the little bunch
of daisies and bluebells, cowslips
and cornflowers, tied up with a green ribbon,
that is still sitting here on my bureau-table
these twenty-five weary years later.

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