Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

(1838-1912 / USA)

On Fifth Avenue - Poem by Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

I walked down Fifth Avenue the other day
(In the languid summertime everybody strolls down
Fifth Avenue);
And I passed women, dainty in their filmy frocks,
And much bespatted men with canes.
And great green busses lumbered past me,
And impressive limousines, and brisk little 'lectrics.

I walked down Fifth Avenue the other day,
And the sunshine smiled at me,
And something, deep in my heart, burst into song.
And then, all at once, I saw her -
A woman with painted lips and rouge-touched
cheeks -
Standing in front of a jeweler's window.
She was looking at diamonds -
A tray of great blue-white diamonds -
And I saw a flame leap out of her eyes to meet them
(Greedy eyes they were, and cold, like too-perfect
And I realized, for the first time,
That diamonds weren't always pretty.

A thin little girl looking into a florist's shop
At a fragrant mass of violets, dew-purple and fresh.
She carried a huge box on her arm,
And a man, passing, said loudly,
'I guess somebody's hat'll be late today!'
And the thin little girl flushed and hurried on,
But not before I had seen the tenderness in her eyes -
The tenderness that real women show
When they look at vast rolling hills, or flowers, or
very small pink babies.

I walked down Fifth Avenue the other day.
(All the world walks, leisurely, down Fifth Avenue
in the summertime.)

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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