The Wife-Blessed by James Whitcomb Riley


In youth he wrought, with eyes ablur,
Lorn-faced and long of hair–
In youth–in youth he painted her
A sister of the air–
Could clasp her not, but felt the stir
Of pinions everywhere.


She lured his gaze, in braver days,
And tranced him sirenwise;
And he did paint her, through a haze
Of sullen paradise,
With scars of kisses on her face
And embers in her eyes.


And now–nor dream nor wild conceit–
Though faltering, as before–
Through tears he paints her, as is meet,
Tracing the dear face o’er
With lilied patience meek and sweet
As Mother Mary wore.

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