Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, YOUNG EDEN, by WITTER BYNNER



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YOUNG EDEN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Flushed from a fairy flagon
Last Line: The apple in her hand!
Alternate Author Name(s): Morgan, Emanuel
Subject(s): Apples; Eden; Fairies; Fruit; Love; Poison Ivy; Story-telling; Youth; Elves


Flushed from a fairy flagon
My country love and I,
Sat by a bush forgetting,
Old conscience and his fretting,
Just dreaming there and letting
Trouble trundle by —
Like a dragon
Dead on a wagon
Drawn against the sky.
Fol de rol de raly O —
Trouble in the sky!

She knew it was only a cloud I saw
When I pointed out a dangling claw,
But she let me say my say;
For the day, red-ripe, was a pretty day
And she thought my way was a city way.
And O I liked her thinking — while each unhindered curl
Glinted in the sunlight, hinted of its yellow —
That I who spoke to such a girl
Was something of a fellow.
Fol de rol de raly O!
Was she really thinking so?

There's the tree, I gaily told her,
Apples, apples, at our feet!
Come, before we're one day older,
We shall gather, we shall eat!
Now's the time for apple hunger!
Not if we were one day younger,
Younger, older, shyer, bolder,
Would an apple taste so sweet!
Fol de rol de raly O!
Apples at our feet!

Bewildered, she was with me on the run
Toward the tree that held its treasure to the sun;
This, of all the trees of treasure, was the one
Condemning leisure
And inviting lovely pleasure —
She was with me, she was by me on the run,
With a cheek that turned its treasure to the sun.
Fol de rol de raly O!
Raly O, we gaily go, Fol —

Why should she stop and never speak?
Why should the color in her cheek
Change, not glowing gay and meek?
Deeper, redder than I knew
She was mistress of, a hue,
Though demurely,
Richly, surely
Rising in her cheek!
Fol de rol de raly O!
The change in her cheek!

There was before us on the ground,
Eyes upon us, not a sound,
Sat a neighbor's truant child of seven years;
Her lap was full of sunny gold,
But her eyes in the sun, her eyes were old,
Were sober, seeming laden
— And such a little maiden —
Unawares but laden
With some dead woman's tears.
Fol de rol de raly O!
A child of seven years!

Some woman who had watched and wept
But had not any speech
Watched and wept now within that little breast,
Caught and caressed
Those little hands and would have kept
Beyond their reach
The anguish in that orchard,
The apple-bough unblessed,
The brightness that had tortured
The heart within the breast. . . .
And we beheld, and see it even now,
A bent and withered apple-bough
Of beauty dispossessed,
Which bore its poison long ago.
Oh, why we pluck it still we may not know,
But only that it leaves no rest
To the heart within the breast.
Fol de rol de raly O!
This heart within the breast!

Abashed and parting on our ways,
We saw that woman's poor dead hand,
Ghostly making, its demand,
Fall pitiful and sad, . . .
We saw the child, forgetful of our gaze,
Laughing like any child that plays,
And laughs in any land,
Lean and touch a toy she had
Half hidden in her hand,
We saw her pat and poise and raise —
An apple in her hand!
Fol de rol de raly O!
The apple in her hand!





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