Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ANTICLIMAX, by RICHARD EUGENE BURTON

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ANTICLIMAX, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I walked a city street, and suddenly
Last Line: Fell on a mood more merry than mine own.
Subject(s): Hearts; Night; Streets; Tears; Bedtime; Avenues

I WALKED a city street, and suddenly
I saw a tiny lad. The winter wind
Howled fitfully, and all the air above
The clear-cut outline of the buildings tall
Seemed full of knives that cut against the face:
An awful night among the unhoused poor!
The boy was tattered; both his hands were thrust
For show of warmth within his pocket-holes,
Where pockets had not been for many a day.
One trouser-leg was long enough to hide
The naked flesh, but one, in mockery
A world too short, though he was monstrous small,
Left bare and red his knee -- a cruel thing!
Then swelled my selfish heart with tenderness
And pity for the waif: to think of one
So young, so seeming helpless, homeless too,
Breasting the night, a-shiver with the cold!
Gaining a little, soon I passed him by,
My fingers reaching for a silver coin
To make him happier, if only for
An hour, when -- I marveled as I heard --
His mouth was puckered up in cheery wise,
And in the very teeth of fortune's frown
He whistled loud a scrap of some gay tune!
And I must know that all my ready tears
Fell on a mood more merry than mine own.

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