Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
The Jilt
By Agnes Lee
 
I
LET other feet go drudging
  About the house he built!
A free girl, a jilted girl—
  I’m glad he was a jilt.
 
We quarrelled till it almost        5
  Destroyed my breath of life.
He nagged me and bullied me,
  As if I’d been his wife.
 
II
We grew cold and bitter
  The more we would explain,        10
And if we held our tongues
  The worse it was again.
 
He flashed a cruel sign,
  I flashed a cruel word,
And neither could forget        15
  The blame the other heard.
 
III
But his eyes could be tender with love, and his voice—how tender!
  Some words he sang are with me the whole day through.
I hang out the linen and burnish the brass and copper,
  And they won’t go out of my head, whatever I do.        20
 
Strange how they come when I feel alone and forsaken,
  How they wake me up when the dawn in my room is hazy,
How they drug me asleep when the night has darkened my pillow!
  Ah, a song will sing in your head when your heart is crazy!
 
IV
What can I do but sit here and shake
        25
  And let the windows rattle mournfully,
While Sunday brings him never and Monday brings him not,
  And winter hides the town away from me?—
 
Dreaming how he drew my soul from my lips,
  Seeming just to hear forevermore        30
What my heart tells the clock, what the clock tells my heart,
  Dreaming back the springtime at my door?
 
V
Why should I curl my hair for him?
  He said the trouble couldn’t be mended,
He said it must be good-by and go;        35
  And he took up his hat, and all was ended.
So all was over. And I’m not dead!
And I’ve shed all the tears I’m going to shed!
 
And now he’s wanting to come again?
  Perhaps he’s sorry, perhaps he misses        40
The hill-top girl. Well, let him come!
  But no more love and no more kisses—
Whatever the future, gay or grim,
Why should I curl my hair for him?
 
VI
I shall go out in the sun today.
        45
I don’t know whether to laugh or pray,
For along the waking paths of spring
Bird calls to bird till the branches ring.
 
Something stirs me—spring’s own will—
To wander to the edge of the hill,        50
Where I can see as I look down
Patches of green on the gray old town.
 
 
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