these are not my people I should never have come here

Thursday, April 22, 2010

it might have been

it might have been once only, 
we lodged in a street together, 
you a sparrow in a housetop lonley
and i, a lone she bird of his feather

my business was song, song, song
i chirped, cheeped, trilled and twittered
i earned no more by a warble
than you by a sketch in plaster
you wanted a piece of marble
i wanted a music master

we studied hard in our styles
for air, looked out on the tiles
for fun, watched each other in windows

you lounged, like a boy of the south
cap and blouse - nay, a bit of a beard too;
with fingers the clay adhered to.

and soon i managed to find weak points in the flower-fenced facing
was forced to put up a blind,
and be safe in my corset lacing

why did you not pinch the flower, in a pellet of clay and fling it?
why did not i put a power -of thanks in a look, or sing it?
but i think i gave you as good!

could you say so, and never say, 
"suppose we join hands and fortunes, and i'll fetch her from overth way,
"her piano, and long tunes and short tunes"

each life's' unfulfilled, you see; it still hangs still, patchy and scrappy:
we have not sighed deep, laughed free, starved, feasted, despaired, -been happy.

this could have happened once, and we lost it forever.

-Robert Browning


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