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Poem by Amy Lowell


The Foreigner


Have at you, you Devils!
My backs to this tree,
For youre nothing so nice
That the hind-side of me
Would escape your assault.
Come on now, all three!
Heres a dandified gentleman,
Rapier at point,
And a wrist which whirls round
Like a circular joint.
A spatter of blood, man!
Thats just to anoint
And make supple your limbs.
Tis a pity the silk
Of your waistcoat is stained.
Why!  Your hearts full of milk,
And so full, it spills over!
Im not of your ilk.
You said so, and laughed
At my old-fashioned hose,
At the cut of my hair,
At the length of my nose.
To carve it to pattern
I think you propose.
Your pardon, young Sir,
But my nose and my sword
Are proving themselves
In quite perfect accord.
I grieve to have spotted
Your shirt.  On my word!
And hullo!  You Bully!
That blades not a stick
To slash right and left,
And my skull is too thick
To be cleft with such cuffs
Of a sword.  Now a lick
Down the side of your face.
What a pretty, red line!
Tell the taverns that scar
Was an honour.  Dont whine
That a stranger has marked you.
*    *    
*    *    *
The trees there, You Swine!
Did you think to get in
At the back, while your friends
Made a little diversion
In front?  So it ends,
With your sword clattering down
On the ground.  Tis amends
I make for your courteous
Reception of me,
A foreigner, landed
From over the sea.
Your welcome was fervent
I think youll agree.
My shoes are not buckled
With gold, nor my hair
Oiled and scented, my jackets
Not satin, I wear
Corded breeches, wide hats,
And I make people stare!
So I do, but my heart
Is the heart of a man,
And my thoughts cannot twirl
In the limited span
Twixt my head and my heels,
As some other mens can.
I have business more strange
Than the shape of my boots,
And my interests range
From the sky, to the roots
Of this dung-hill you live in,
You half-rotted shoots
Of a mouldering tree!
Heres at you, once more.
You Apes!  You Jack-fools!
You can show me the door,
And jeer at my ways,
But youre pinked to the core.
And before I have done,
I will prick my name in
With the front of my steel,
And your lily-white skin
Shall be printed with me.
For Ive come here to win!



Amy Lowell


Amy Lowell's other poems:
  1. The Bungler
  2. The Painter on Silk
  3. The Fool Errant
  4. The Boston Athenaeum
  5. Frankincense and Myrrh


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