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The Tree Child; An Anniversary by Shamik Banerjee

The Tree Child 

Have you been at old Tinharp's lea

That's local to the blue fount's welling?

Then must have seen the broad-leaved tree—

It is a little callant's dwelling.


A youngly subject who is meek,

A virgin mind in early growth;

A shamefast heart? Afraid to speak?

I deem he's either, or he's both.


In his frolic, I see him oft.

His self-same clothing which I find:

The half-sleeved shirt—scruffy, unsoft,

With dye with which the sky is lined.


His swath-like brows are dark, yet bright,

Each eye cirque's as blue as a tarn;

His face is whitier than White;

He squanders 'round old Tinharp's barn.


I spot him in four hours, chiefly:

A little after busy noon;

At gloaming time; when dawn stays briefly;

On nights when cloud-veiled is the moon.


Though bashful he's, at me he smiles;

On reversion, with glee does nod—

He waves while climbing up the stiles

With supple feet that are unshod.


One morn with enough time in lot,

"What name you bear? Where do you live?"

I asked but he did answer naught,

Nor any slight allusion give.


But still our short meeting was gay.

He convoyed me thro' Tinharp's bowers,

And said it was his place of stay,

And gathered me a sheaf of flowers.


Of all reticent youths I've seen,

Most were reserved and not so bold,

But he displayed an oddish mien—

Very uncommon to behold.


But what appalled me—when leave I took,

His tread did not make any sound

On the dried leaves; I turned to look

His feet were floating o'er the ground!

An Anniversary 


My dearest Cynthia, I kept my vows

On this day of our anniversary.

I sweeped the breezeway, pruned the Beech's boughs

And watered the long-swagging Peony.


Our bed is neatly done; a coverlet

In crimson-murrey is upon it spread.

At eve I'll play your favourite cassette

And on my bosom gently place your head.


As promised, I have lacquered your long nails

And helped you don a camlet red and bright,

I've locked the door to mute all outer wails

And shut the louver to dim out the light.


Long you have said, "My husband gave me naught."

Now look at you—all complaints are suppressed.

Now maybe you are smiling at this thought—

'My husband's good although he's not the best.'


How meekly now you're sitting on the chair,

Your cheeks don't have the former fury's mote—

I wonder: If your habitude were fair,

I wouldn't have used that blade against your throat.


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