Two Ways To Love.

A poem by Susan Coolidge

"Entre deux amants il y a toujours l'an qui baise et l'autre qui tend la joue."

I says he loves me well, and I
Believe it; in my hands, to make
Or mar, his life lies utterly,
Nor can I the strong plea deny.
Which claims my love for his love's sake.

He says there is no face so fair
As mine; when I draw near, his eyes
Light up; each ripple of my hair
He loves; the very clunk I wear
He touches fondly where it lies.

And roses, roses all the way,
Upon my path fall, strewed by him;
His tenderness by night, by day,
Keeps faithful watch to heap alway
My cup of pleasure to the brim.

The other women, full of spite,
Count me the happiest woman born
To be so worshipped; I delight
To flaunt his homage in their sight,--
For me the rose, for them its thorn.

I love him--or I think I do;
Sure one MUST love what is so sweet.
He is all tender and all true,
All eloquent to plead and sue,
All strength--though kneeling at my feet.

Yet I had visions once of yore,
Girlish imaginings of a zest,
A possible thrill,--but why run o'er
These fancies?--idle dreams, no more;
I will forget them, this is best.

So let him take,--the past is past;
The future, with its golden key,
Into his outstretched hands I cast.
I shall love him--perhaps--at last,
As now I love his love for me.


Nor as all other women may,
Love I my Love; he is so great,
So beautiful, I dare essay
No nearness but in silence lay
My heart upon his path,--and wait.

Poor heart! its healings are so low
He does not heed them passing by,
Save as one heeds, where violets grow,
A fragrance, caring not to know
Where the veiled purple buds may lie.

I sometimes think that it is dead,
It lies so still. I bend and lean,
Like mother over cradle-head,
Wondering if still faint breaths are shed
Like sighs the parted lips between.

And then, with vivid pulse and thrill,
It quickens into sudden bliss
At sound of step or voice, nor will
Be hushed, although, regardless still,
He knows not, cares not, it is his.

I would not lift it if I could;
The little flame, though faint and dim
As glow-worm spark in lonely wood,
Shining where no man calls it good,
May one day light the path for him,--

May guide his way, or soon or late,
Through blinding mist or wintry rain;
And, so content, I watch and wait.
Let others share his happier fate,
I only ask to share his pain!

And if some day, when passing by,
My dear Love should his steps arrest,
Should mark the poor heart waiting nigh,
Should know it his, should lift it,--why,
Patience is good, but joy is best!

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