“Certainly,” I answered, rather curious to see if it was going to be one of those little poem-jokes that circulate on the Internet.
What he sent surprised me and moved me in an unexpected way.
“It’s a little bit romantic,” he wrote afterward as a half-embarrassed justification. “I had to learn it for some acting lessons.”
This tickled my silly, artistic, romantic soul even more. Acting lessons?
“I thought of you at the recital,” he added. Huh? Impressive enough?
Yes, I think it is very romantic and I’m glad I got to read it because I had no idea it existed. It is a beautiful love song, immensely sad but somehow hopeful at the same time. Here it is.
a painting by Pino Daeni
By Edgar Lee Masters
(from the Spoon River Anthology, 1916)
DEAR Jane! dear winsome Jane!
How you stole in the room (where I lay so ill)
In your nurse’s cap and linen cuffs,
And took my hand and said with a smile:
“You are not so ill—you’ll soon be well.”
And how the liquid thought of your eyes
Sank in my eyes like dew that slips
Into the heart of a flower.
Dear Jane! the whole McNeely fortune
Could not have bought your care of me,
By day and night, and night and day;
Nor paid for you smile, nor the warmth of your soul,
In your little hands laid on my brow.
Jane, till the flame of life went out
In the dark above the disk of night
I longed and hoped to be well again
To pillow my head on your little breasts,
And hold you fast in a clasp of love—
Did my father provide for you when he died,
Jane, dear Jane?