The old priest Peter Gilligan
Was weary night and day
For half his flock were in their beds
Or under green sods lay.
Once, while he nodded in a chair
At the moth-hour of the eve
Another poor man sent for him,
And he began to grieve.
He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
Voices of play and pleasure after day,
Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.
About this time Town used to swing so gay
When glow-lamps budded in the light blue trees,
And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,-
By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' eastward to the sea,
There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:
"Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!"
Come you back to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can't you 'ear their paddles chunkin' from Rangoon to Mandalay?
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin'-fishes play,
An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!
Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
Out of the mocking-bird's throat, the musical shuttle,
Out of the Ninth-month midnight,
Over the sterile sands and the fields beyond, where the child
leaving his bed wander'd alone, bareheaded, barefoot,
Down from the shower'd halo,
Up from the mystic play of shadows twining and twisting as
if they were alive,
Out from the patches of briers and blackberries,
From the memories of the bird that chanted to me,
"I think I want some pies this morning,"
Said Dick, stretching himself and yawning;
So down he threw his slate and books,
And saunter'd to the pastry-cook's.
And there he cast his greedy eyes
Round on the jellies and the pies,
So to select, with anxious care,
The very nicest that was there.
I was fine until I had
This disease that drives me mad.
Slowly it is eating me,
The doctor said I have TB.
And that is why I have to lay
Down on my bed all the day.
It worsens when I'm alone,
I can't even reach my phone.
Blinds separate from each other
Light sneaks in
Touching the walls of my room
Touching my closed eyes
Ruby red in my face
Brush it away to get a clear view
Of the eggshell ceiling I see everyday
I sit up
Stretch my sleeping bones
I hid the love within my heart,
And lit the laughter in my eyes,
That when we meet he may not know
My love that never dies.
But sometimes when he dreams at night
Of fragrant forests green and dim,
It may be that my love crept out
And brought the dream to him.
O mother, I am sick of love,
I cannot laugh nor lift my head,
My bitter dreams have broken me,
I would my love were dead.
"Drink of the draught I brew for thee,
Thou shalt have quiet in its stead."
We stood in the shrill electric light,
Dumb and sick in the whirling din
We who had all of love to say
And a single second to say it in.
"Good-by!" "Good-by!"--you turned to go,
I felt the train's slow heavy start,
You thought to see me cry, but oh
My tears were hidden in my heart.