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Irradiations; Sand and Spray
written by "Fletcher, John Gould, 1886-1950"
...ars clustered or solitary, That I want you to fall into my lap to-night. Come down, little stars, let me play with you: I will string you like beads, and shovel you together, And wear you in my ears, and scatter you over people— And toss you back, like apples, if I choose. XXV As I wandered over the city through the night, I saw many strange things: But I have forgotten all Except one painted face. Gaudy, shameless night-orchid, Heavy, flushed, sticky with narcotic perfume, There was something in you which made me prefer you Above all the feeble forget-me-nots of the world. You were neither burnt out nor pallid, There was plain, coarse, vulgar meaning in every line of you And no make-believe: You were at least alive, When all the rest were but puppets of the night. XXVI Slowly along the lamp-emblazoned street, Amid the last sad drifting crowds of midnight Like lost souls wandering, Comes marching by solemnly As for some gem-bedecked ritual of old, A monotonous procession of black carts Full crowded with blood-red blossom: Scarlet geraniums Unfolding their fiery globes upon the night. These are the memories of day moulded in jagged flame: Lust, joy, blood, and death. With crushed hands, weary eyes, and hoarse clamour, We consecrate and acclaim them tumultuously Ere they pass, contemptuous, beyond the unpierced veil of silence. XXVII I think there was an hour in which God laughed at me, For as I passed along the street, saw that all the women—although their bodies were dexterously concealed— Were thinking with all their might what men were like: And the men, mechanically correct, cigars at lips, Were wanting to rush at the women, But were restrained by respectability or timidity, Or fear of the consequences or vanity or some puerile dream Of a pale ideal lost in the vast grey sky. So I said to myself, it is time to end all this: I will take the first woman that comes along. And then God...

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