Their Sweet Sorrow

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

They meet to say farewell: Their way
Of saying this is hard to say.
He holds her hand an Instant, wholly
Distressed - and she unclasps it slowly,

He lends his gaze evasively
Over the printed page that she
Recurs to, with a new-moon shoulder
Glimpsed from the lace-mists that infold her.

The clock, beneath its crystal cup,
Discreetly clicks"Quick! Act! Speak up!"
A tension circles both her slender
Wrists - and her raised eyes flash in splendor,

Even as he feels his dazzled own.
Then blindingly, round either thrown,
They feel a stress of arms that ever
Strain tremblingly - and "Never! Never!"

Is whispered brokenly, with half
A sob, like a belated laugh,
While cloyingly their blurred kiss closes,
Sweet as the dew's lip to the rose's.

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