Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SONGS TUNELESS, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY



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SONGS TUNELESS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: He kisses me! Ah, now, at last
Last Line: And rake the ashes over it.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Kisses; Love; Night; Youth; Bedtime


I

HE kisses me! Ah, now, at last,
He says good night as it should be,
His great warm eyes bent yearningly
Above my face -- his arms locked fast
About me, and mine own eyes dim
With happy tears for love of him.

He kisses me! Last night, beneath
A swarm of stars, he said I stood
His one fair form of womanhood,
And springing, shut me in the sheath
Of a caress that almost hid
Me from the good his kisses did.

He kisses me! He kisses me!
This is the sweetest song I know,
And so I sing it very low
And faint, and O so tenderly
That, though you listen, none but he
May hear it as he kisses me.

II

"How can I make you love me more?" --
A thousand times she asks me this,
Her lips uplifted with the kiss
That I have tasted o'er and o'er,
Till now I drain it with no sense
Other than utter indolence.

"How can I make you love me more?" --
A thousand times her questioning face
Has nestled in its resting-place
Unanswered, till, though I adore
This thing of being loved, I doubt
Not I could get along without.

"How can she make me love her more?" --
Ah! little woman, if, indeed,
I might be frank as is the need
Of frankness, I would fall before
Her very feet, and there confess
My love were more if hers were less.

III

Since I am old I have no care
To babble silly tales of when
I loved, and lied, as other men
Have done, who boasted here and there,
They would have died for the fair thing
They after murdered, marrying.

Since I am old I reason thus --
No thing survives, of all the past,
But just regret enough to last
Us till the clods have smothered us; --
Then, with our dead loves, side by side,
We may, perhaps, be satisfied.

Since I am old, and strive to blow
Alive the embers of my youth
And early loves, I find, in sooth,
An old man's heart may burn so low,
'Tis better just to calmly sit
And rake the ashes over it.





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