(15 August 1858 – 4 May 1924 / Kennington / Surrey / England)

The Least Possible

DEAR goddess of the shining shrine
Where all my votive tapers burn,
Where every gold-embroidered thought
And all my flowers of life are brought
--With many, alas! that are not mine--
What will you give me in return?

The bow in Bond Street--in the Park
The smile all worship on your lips,
The courteous word at dinner--dance--
But never a blush--a conscious glance;
At most, at Henley, in the dark,
Your fleet mistaken finger-tips?

Ah, just for once, once only, be
An altar-server--stoop and set me
Upon the altar richly wrought
Of your most secret flower-sweet thought:
One nightlight's flicker burn for me
Before you sleep and quite forget me.

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