Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MIDDLETON PLACE, by AMY LOWELL

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THE MIDDLETON PLACE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: What would francis jammes, lover of dear dead
Last Line: Telling one another contentedly of the deaths they have lived to see.
Subject(s): Charleston, South Carolina

What would Francis Jammes, lover of dear dead elegancies,
Say to this place?
France, stately, formal, stepping in red-heeled shoes
Along a river shore.
France walking a minuet between live-oaks waving ghostly fans of Spanish moss.
La Caroline, indeed, my dear Jammes,
With Monsieur Michaux engaged to teach her deportment.
Faint as a whiff of flutes and hautbois,
The great circle of the approach lies beneath the sweeping grasses.
Step lightly down these terraces, they are records of a dream.
Magnolias, pyrus japonicas, azaleas,
Flaunting their scattered blooms with the same bravura
That lords and ladies used in the prison of the Conciergerie.
You were meant to be so gay, so sophisticated, and you are so sad --
Sad as the tomb crouched amid your tangled growth,
Sad as the pale plumes of the Spanish moss
Slowly strangling the live-oak trees.
Sunset wanes along the quiet river,
The afterglow is haunted and nostalgic,
Over the yellow woodland it hangs like the dying chord of a funeral chant;
And evenly, satirically, the mosses move to its ineffable rhythm,
Like the ostrich fans of palsied dowagers
Telling one another contentedly of the deaths they have lived to see.

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