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The Human Touch
DSS (1866-1918 / Ireland)

The Human Touch

She made roses all the day for pretty ladies' wear,
All through the patient hours, half into the night.
Dragged into a hurried knot all her dusty hair,
Eyes foolish with fatigue, straining to the light.
Pretty ladies roamed away over land and sea,
Talked on foreign boulevard, laughed in gay bazaar;
Followed summer's sunny road planning times to be,
Happy hours of holiday, as the seasons are.
She made roses all the day for pretty ladies' wear,
All through the long day, half into the night.
Followed all the toiling hours with a dumb despair
Lest they overtake her skill in their hurried flight.
Pretty ladies in the park driving up and down,
Chatting of the horrid war, strolling on the grass,
Shopping long in Regent Street, over cloak or gown,
Waving hand or handkerchief as the soldiers pass.

She made roses all the day for pretty ladies' wear,
Threepence for a dozen such, working to the night.
Just an hour of holiday left her cupboard bare,
She knew naught of Regent Street or of war's affright.
Sudden in a dusky hour came a stranger bird,
To the frightened city's gloom, in her silent race
Flew to drop her evil egg where the slow winds stirred
Wrapping mist from some rich store for her nesting place.
But the pitying breath of night blowing from the west
Blew the evil bird to go in the smoke and gloom,
So that sudden death might bring for the toiler rest—
Give her splendid liberty from her prison room.
She had never time to weep, dim eyes and holiday,
Left her roses all unborn, left the cupboard bare.
Now she cried and rising flung roses all away,
Swift as any lady ran down the narrow stair.
All the pretty ladies prayed, with uplifted glance,
Thanked God that each lovely life had not met its doom,
She prayed in her prison place for the 'lucky chance'
That had saved her sweated life from the restful tomb.

Thanked God she made roses still for pretty ladies' wear,
Threepence for a dozen such, working to the night.
Dragged in to a hurried knot all her dusty hair—
Eyes foolish with fatigue straining to the light.

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