Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MASQUERADE, by F. LOUISE COOK

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

MASQUERADE, by            
First Line: I hardly know myself all day
Last Line: I wear a silver mask by day.
Subject(s): Masks; Self

I hardly know myself all day;
I go about in the marketplace . . .
A silver mask across my face.
(For time lies heavily away from you.)
I do the things that others do:
Stop to price a diamond ring
And listen to a beggar sing;
Then shop a while and pause for tea . . .
And wonder why they stare at me.
They cannot see the mask I wear;
My dress is just a plain affair
Of white against the darkness
Of my skin. (Perhaps this rose . . .
But, ah, none other knows
It came from you.)
I hear fragments of their talk
And faster, faster I must walk
Away from ugly horrid things . . .
Biting words and looks that sting.
How good it feels to reach my room
And know that naught of city gloom
Can touch me here. I shed
My mask upon the bed
And greet my pictures on the walls;
Then this hated raiment falls,
Like forgotten rhythms, on the floor.
Thus I stand (while night comes down
Across the roofs and towers of town)
Gowned in moonlight, cool and blue.
Are others like me sleepless too?
I cannot close my eyes at night . . .
I wear a silver mask by day.

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