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Poem by Amy Lowell
Have at you, you Devils! My back’s to this tree, For you’re nothing so nice That the hind-side of me Would escape your assault. Come on now, all three! Here’s a dandified gentleman, Rapier at point, And a wrist which whirls round Like a circular joint. A spatter of blood, man! That’s just to anoint And make supple your limbs. ’Tis a pity the silk Of your waistcoat is stained. Why! Your heart’s full of milk, And so full, it spills over! I’m 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 blade’s 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. Don’t whine That a stranger has marked you. * * * * * The tree’s 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 you’ll agree. My shoes are not buckled With gold, nor my hair Oiled and scented, my jacket’s 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 men’s 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! Here’s at you, once more. You Apes! You Jack-fools! You can show me the door, And jeer at my ways, But you’re 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 I’ve come here to win!
Amy Lowell's other poems:
English Poetry. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org