The Ballade Of The Mistletoe Bough

A poem by Ellis Parker Butler

I am standing under the mistletoe,
And I smile, but no answering smile replies
For her haughty glance bids me plainly know
That not for me is the thing I prize;
Instead, from her coldly scornful eyes,
Indifference looks on my barefaced guile;
She knows, of course, what my act implies,
But look at those lips! Do they hint a smile?

I stand here, eager, and beam and glow,
And she only looks a refined surprise
As clear and crisp and as cold as snow,
And as, Stop! I will never criticise!
I know what her cold glance signifies;
But I’ll stand just here as I am awhile
Till a smile to my pleading look replies,
But look at those lips! Do they hint a smile?

Just look at those lips, now! I claim they show
A spirit unmeet under Christmas skies;
I claim that such lips on such maidens owe
A—something—the custom justifies;
I claim that the mistletoe rule applies
To her as well as the rank and file;
We should meet these things in a cheerful guise,
But look at those lips! Do they hint a smile?


These customs of Christmas may shock the wise,
And mistletoe boughs may be out of style,
And a kiss be a thing that all maids despise,
But look at those lips, do! They hint a smile!

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