James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

Has She Forgotten? - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

I.

Has she forgotten? On this very May
We were to meet here, with the birds and bees,
As on that Sabbath, underneath the trees
We strayed among the tombs, and stripped away
The vines from these old granites, cold and gray--
And yet, indeed, not grim enough were they
To stay our kisses, smiles and ecstacies,
Or closer voice-lost vows and rhapsodies.
Has she forgotten--that the May has won
Its promise?--that the bird-songs from the tree
Are sprayed above the grasses as the sun
Might jar the dazzling dew down showeringly?
Has she forgotten life--love--everyone--
Has she forgotten me--forgotten me?

II.

Low, low down in the violets I press
My lips and whisper to her. Does she hear,
And yet hold silence, though I call her dear,
Just as of old, save for the tearfulness
Of the clenched eyes, and the soul's vast distress?
Has she forgotten thus the old caress
That made our breath a quickened atmosphere
That failed nigh unto swooning with the sheer
Delight? Mine arms clutch now this earthen heap
Sodden with tears that flow on ceaselessly
As autumn rains the long, long, long nights weep
In memory of days that used to be,--
Has she forgotten these? And, in her sleep,
Has she forgotten me--forgotten me?

III.

To-night, against my pillow, with shut eyes,
I mean to weld our faces--through the dense
Incalculable darkness make pretense
That she has risen from her reveries
To mate her dreams with mine in marriages
Of mellow palms, smooth faces, and tense ease
Of every longing nerve of indolence,--
Lift from the grave her quiet lips, and stun
My senses with her kisses--drawl the glee
Of her glad mouth, full blithe and tenderly,
Across mine own, forgetful if is done
The old love's awful dawn-time when said we,
'To-day is ours!'.... Ah, Heaven! can it be
She has forgotten me--forgotten me!


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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