Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

Over The Alley


Here in my office I sit and write
Hour on hour, and day on day,
With no one to speak to from morn till night,
Though I have a neighbour just over the way.
Across the alley that yawns between
A maiden sits sewing the whole day long;
A face more lovely is seldom seen
In hall or castle or country throng.

Her curling tresses are golden brown;
Her eyes, I think, are violet blue,
Though her long, thick lashes are always down,
Jealously hiding the orbs from view;
Her neck is slender, and round, and white,
And this way and that way her soft hair blows,
As there in the window from morn till night,
She sits in her beauty, and sings and sews.

And I in my office chair, lounge and dream,
In an idle way, of a sweet 'might be, '
While the maid at her window sews her seam,
With never a glance or a thought for me.
Perhaps she is angry because I look
So long and so often across the way,
Over the top of my ledger-book;
But those stolen glances brighten the day.

And I am blameless of any wrong; -
She is the transgressor, by sitting there
And making my eyes turn oft and long
To a face so delicate, pure and fair.
Work is forgotten; the page lies clean,
Untouched by the pen, while hours go by.
Oh, maid of the pensive air and mien!
Give me one glance of your violet eye.

Drop your thimble or spool of thread
Down in the alley, I pray, my sweet,
Or the comb or ribbon from that fair head,
That I may follow with nimble feet;
For how can I tell you my heart has gone
Across the alley, and lingers there,
Till I know your name, my beautiful one?
How could I venture, and how could I dare?

Just one day longer I'll wait and dream,
And then, if you grant me no other way,
I shall write you a letter: 'Maid of the seam,
You have stolen my property; now give pay,
Beautiful robber and charming thief!
Give me one glance for the deed you've done.'
Thus shall I tell you my loss and grief,
Over the alley, my beautiful one.

Submitted: Sunday, May 18, 2003

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