Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

Platonic


I knew it the first of the summer,
I knew it the same at the end,
That you and your love were plighted,
But couldn’t you be my friend?
Couldn’t we sit in the twilight,
Couldn’t we walk on the shore
With only a pleasant friendship
To bind us, and nothing more?

There was not a word of folly
Spoken between us two,
Though we lingered oft in the garden
Till the roses were wet with dew.
We touched on a thousand subjects –
The moon and the worlds above, -
And our talk was tinctured with science,
And everything else, save love.

A wholly Platonic friendship
You said I had proven to you
Could bind a man and a woman
The whole long season through,
With never a thought of flirting,
Though both were in their youth,
What would you have said, my lady,
If you had known the truth!

What would you have done, I wonder,
Had I gone on my knees to you
And told you my passionate story,
There in the dusk and the dew?
My burning, burdensome story,
Hidden and hushed so long –
My story of hopeless loving –
Say, would you have thought it wrong?

But I fought with my heart and conquered,
I hid my wound from sight;
You were going away in the morning,
And I said a calm goodnight.
But now when I sit in the twilight,
Or when I walk by the sea
That friendship, quite Platonic,
Comes surging over me.
And a passionate longing fills me
For the roses, the dusk, the dew;
For the beautiful summer vanished,
For the moonlight walks – and you.

Submitted: Monday, May 26, 2003

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