Friday Poem – In the Orchard


orchardThis lovely poem is by Muriel Stuart (1885-1967), an English poet. This is her most famous piece of work, a poem made up of nothing but dialogue and no verse form.

In the Orchard

‘I thought you loved me.’

‘No, it was only fun.’

‘When we stood there, closer than all?’

‘Well, the harvest moon was shining and queer in your hair, and it turned my head.’

‘That made you?’

‘Yes.’

‘Just the moon and the light it made under the tree?’

‘Well, your mouth too.’

‘Yes, my mouth?’

‘And the quiet there that sang like the drum in the booth. You shouldn’t have danced like that.’

‘Like what?’

‘So close, with your head turned up, and the flower in your hair, a rose that smelt all warm.’

‘I loved you. I thought you knew I wouldn’t have danced like that with any but you.’

‘I didn’t know, I thought you knew it was fun.’

‘I thought it was love you meant.’

‘Well, it’s done.’

‘Yes, it’s done. I’ve seen boys stone a blackbird, and watched them drown a kitten… it clawed at the reeds, and they pushed it down into the pool while it screamed. Is that fun, too?’

‘Well, boys are like that… Your brothers…’

‘Yes, I know. But you, so lovely and strong! Not you! Not you!’

‘They don’t understand it’s cruel. It’s only a game.’

‘And are girls fun too?’

‘No, still in a way it’s the same. It’s queer and lovely to have a girl…’

‘Go on.’

‘It makes you mad for a bit to feel she’s your own, and you laugh and kiss her, and maybe you give her a ring, but it’s only in fun.’

‘But I gave you everything.’

‘Well, you shouldn’t have done it. You know what a fellow thinks when a girl does that.’

‘Yes, he talks of her over his drinks and calls her a–‘

‘Stop that now, I thought you knew.’

‘But it wasn’t with anyone else. It was only you.’

‘How did I know? I thought you wanted it too. I thought you were like the rest. Well, what’s to be done?’

‘To be done’

‘Is it all right?’

‘Yes.’

‘Sure?’

‘Yes, but why?’

‘I don’t know, I thought you were going to cry. You said you had something to tell me.’

‘Yes, I know. It wasn’t anything really… I think I’ll go.’

‘Yes, it’s late. There’s thunder about, a drop of rain fell on my hand in the dark. I’ll see you again at the dance next week. You’re sure that everything’s right?’

‘Yes,’

‘Well, I’ll be going.’

‘Kiss me…’

‘Good night.’

‘Good night.’

 

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