John Kenyon

(1784-1856 / Jamaica)

La Piquante - Poem by John Kenyon

Quoth Flavilla, 'Think I can't
Why they will call me 'piquant.''

Yet, Flavilla! should we try,
We might find the reason why.
Be thy mien 'devout and pure,
'Sober, steadfast, and demure;'
Yet—if something in thy smile
Contradict it all the while,
Is'nt this, Flavilla!—grant—
Is'nt this to be piquant?
Be thy talk not gay o'er much;
Yet—if serious-seeming touch

Stirreth ever more the string
Of some fond imagining,
Is'nt this, Flavilla!—grant—
Is'nt this to be piquant?

If when deeplier we would look
Into that half-open book,
Thou dost close it, Slyest Saint!
More to tempt us by restraint;
Is'nt this, Flavilla!—grant—
Is'nt this to be piquant?

Would we know what else may serve
This—thy mantle of reserve—
Whether thou dost shroud in it
Loving thoughts, for lady fit,
Or but some provoking wit—

If, with pretty, wilful dealing,
Now—close veiled—now part revealing—
Thou, like some coquettish nun,
Mockest still our fancies on;
Then, just as we had hoped to win
Way the parlour-nook within,
Coolly turning, bidd'st us wait
Thy pleasure at the outer grate;
Isn't this, Flavilla!—grant—
Isn't this to be piquant?

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Maya Angelou

Caged Bird

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010

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