Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE UNKNOWN QUANTITY, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN

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THE UNKNOWN QUANTITY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Manda's twig-like arms
Last Line: The snarl, the first, the knife in the sun!
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): England; Landscape; English

MANDA'S twig-like arms
And nebulous and slanting eyes
Seemed a world of charms;
Husky though they were, her sighs
Took our lads with sweet surprise.

What could Manda say?
Nothing; but that nothing tranced
Lads that ploughed all day.
All dolled up as eve advanced
With Manda round the room they pranced.

Came no fete nor fair
But this maid with her long neck
Would be early there;
She had but to peek and beck,
She the sea-ghost, they the wreck.

Then by chance as she
From the swingboat slunk along
With her light tee-hee,
And her humming latest-song,
Several felt the call too strong.

On this point the squire
Unintentionally might,
By his study fire,
Throw a ray of simple light
And give us Manda's story right.

For, it seems, of late
More than one of our young men
Sought him, and would state
Mother's chest was bad again,
The bill before was three pound ten,

And a labouring man
Could not nohow raise the money:
While the woe so ran,
Manda turned from Joe to Johnny,
Or, at Hugh's cost, found Jack "too funny."

On one summer day
Manda almost fell a-thinking --
In a modest way --
Some were dangerous who'd been drinking:
Then she fell once more to prinking.

On that last swift day
She read of something dreadful done
By lovers far away --
Sighed -- shrieked -- that fool, that madman John,
The snarl, the first, the knife in the sun!

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