Amy Lowell

9 February 1874 – 12 May 1925 / Boston, Massachusetts

On The Mantelpiece

A thousand years went to her making,
A thousand years of experiments in pastes and glazes.
But now she stands
In all the glory of the finest porcelain and the most delicate paint,
A Dresden china shepherdess,
Flaunted before a tall mirror
On a high mantelpiece.

' Beautiful shepherdess,
I love the little pink rosettes on your shoes,
The angle of your hat sets my heart a singing.
Drop me the purple rose you carry in your hand
That I may cherish it,
And that, at my death,
Which I feel is not far off,
It may lie upon my bier. '
So the shepherdess threw the purple rose over the mantelpiece,
But it splintered in fragments on the hearth.

Then from below there came a sound of weeping,
And the shepherdess beat her hands
And cried:
' My purple rose is broken,
It was the flower of my heart. '
And she jumped off the mantelpiece
And was instantly shattered into seven hundred and twenty pieces.
But the little brown cricket who sang so sweetly
Scuttled away into a crevice of the marble
And went on warming his toes and chirping.
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