Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BOX, by MARGUERITE ARNOLD

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE BOX, by            
First Line: A dozen times she washed her hands
Last Line: Only a father and mother can tell.
Subject(s): Rhyme

A dozen times she washed her hands
And moved, frail-pink, across the hall,
And sat combing her pale-gold hair,
And sat staring against the wall.

Outside the sea would roar its blue
Against the plumeless white of her.
Along the sill a tawny cat
Would lie, and daintily stretch and purr.

Her eyes were green as icebergs are.
Carved she was of a marble shaft;
Pearly she was, with the luster gone.
She combed her hair, and she was daft.

And when her sister's child came home,
Crying out beyond the stair,
A look came on of a wild-cat thing
Brought to bay in a jungle lair.

A jade-green box, milky with light,
She loved to hold. A day she sits,
The child laughs out, she gets her up
And hurls it, and laughs at the sorry bits.

The child not hers; the box a well
Of the empty loves and the clapperless bell;
And of what sad reckoning she was born
Only a father and mother can tell.

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