James Whitcomb Riley

7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana

Their Sweet Sorrow

They meet to say farewell: Their way
Of saying this is hard to say--.
He holds her hand an Instant, wholly
Distressed-- and she unclasps it slowly,

He lends his gaze evasively
Over the printed page that she
Recurs to, with a new-moon shoulder
Glimpsed from the lace-mists that infold her.

The clock, beneath its crystal cup,
Discreetly clicks-- 'Quick! Act! Speak up!'
A tension circles both her slender
Wrists-- and her raised eyes flash in splendor,

Even as he feels his dazzled own--.
Then blindingly, round either thrown,
They feel a stress of arms that ever
Strain tremblingly-- and 'Never! Never!'

Is whispered brokenly, with half
A sob, like a belated laugh--,
While cloyingly their blurred kiss closes--,
Sweet as the dew's lip to the rose's.
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