poet Henry Cuyler Bunner

Henry Cuyler Bunner

In A Paris Restaurant

I gaze, while thrills my heart with patriot pride,
Upon the exquisite skin, rose-flushed and creamy;
The perfect little head; on either side
Blonde waves. The dark eyes, vaguely soft and dreamy,
Hold for a space my judgment in eclipse,
Until, with half a pout, supremely dainty,
“He’s red mean “—slips from out the strawberry lips—
“Oh, aint he!”

This at her escort, youthful, black-moustached
And diamond-studded—this reproof; whereat he
Is not to any great extent abashed.
(That youth’s from “Noo Orleens” or “Cincinnatty,”
I’m sure.) But she—those dark eyes doubtful strike
Her sherbet-ice. . . Wont touch it. . . Is induced to.
Result: “I’d sooner eat Mince-Pie, Jim, like
We used to.”

While then my too-soon-smitten soul recants,
I hear her friend discoursing with much feeling
Of tailors, and a garment he calls “pants.”
I note into her eyes a softness stealing—
A shade of thought upon her low, sweet brow—
She hears him not—I swear, I could have cried here—
The escort nudges her—she starts, and—” How?
The idear!”

This was the finishing and final touch.
I rose, and took no further observation.
Ilove my country “just about” as much—
I have for it as high a veneration—
As a man whose fathers fought for liberty,
Whose veins conduct the blood of Commodore Perry, can.
But she was quite too very awfully
American.

Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 4, 2010

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