new zealand electronic poetry centre

Lola Ridge

online works

My Care

I laugh good night as their footfalls die.
(Blowing stars in a blue-jet sky,
A flung-back jest and a repartee.)

Still – so still! You may come, my care –
No eyes are near us to scorn and quiz
The foul misshape that your shadow is.
Only the moon, through a twisted tree
That trembles like a pleading girl,
Shall spray your cheeks and your burning lips
And set your brow with a single pearl.

Hush! Why do you start and cringe and stare?
That was a wind blew back the leaves.
(A late bird cleaves the still, gray air
And circles wide as it passes by.)

Short shrift for the blind, white stars
That beg their way;
But shorter shrift for your wild, wild face!
Go down, my care – the dawn is gay,
But you are not meet for my friends to see.
Go down and hide in your covered place,
But tread as quiet as any mouse,
For I must show an empty house,
And it must be a clean, bright house,
For the young day!


‘My Care,’ Ainslee's Mar 1920: 83.
See also Verses 1905: 26.

Last updated 30 May, 2013