Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, JASPER, by DONALD (GRADY) DAVIDSON



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JASPER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: If jasper saw a silver crescent declining
Last Line: "let the songs I knew speed warm to your utterance."
Subject(s): Death; Funerals; Dead, The; Burials


If Jasper saw a silver crescent declining
Tipped on a mountain, pale in a cloudy sky,
He would take off his hat and bow with a mellowish feigning,
And say, "O Lady, are you too about to die?"

Or when in the midmost sparkle of starriest August
Aerolites raced with a fatal extravagant glow,
He would shift both feet on the porch-rail, and swagger, "Oh, now must
The stars puff out, just as little men have to go."

Jasper was curious, prone on decaying timber
Plucking the corpse of an oak-tree, uprooted and stark.
"The old one found him a-cold, in the autumn less limber,"
Said Jasper, "My fragile finger will crumble his bark."

"But why should I howl a complaint uprising to heaven,
Among these my fellow-citizens of woe,
Who flash and change or fall and perish, yet even
Out of their hurt will protest not, but silently go.

"When I am laid on the couch of my last breathing
Bring jolly musicians hitherward, well-paid,
Let boys and girls crowd under my window for dancing.
And when I am gone let them each wear a bright cockade.

"For perhaps I found a music on roads and hills,
And my way on earth was the drifting way of a dance.
Let the lift of my colors flash through your long quadrilles.
Let the songs I knew speed warm to your utterance."





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