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CANDLES THAT BURN



ALINE




UC-NRLF



115 7DE






1 VI



CANDLES THAT BURN
ALINE KILMER



CANDLES THAT BURN

BY

ALINE KILMER




NEW ^SJr YORK
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY



Copyright, 1919,
By George H. Doran Company



Printed in the United States of America



TO

JOYCE



143



For permission to print some of these poems I
thank America, The Churchman, The Countryside,
The Delineator, Good Housekeeping, Harper s
Weekly, House and Garden, The Outlook, The Phila
delphia Ledger, Pictorial Review, Scribner s and the
New York Times.



vn



CONTENTS

PAGE

AMBITION 13

THE MOTHER S HELPER 14

A DIDACTIC POEM TO DEBORAH 15

AN AUTUMN WALK WITH DEBORAH 16

EXPERIENCE 17

CANDLES THAT BURN 18

PREVISION 19

DOROTHY S GARDEN 20

JUSTICE 21

FOR TWO BIRTHDAYS 22

TO ROSE AWAY 23

FOR A PROUD BABY 24

"YOU ARE MORE BLESSED" 25

TO A SICK CHILD 26

"A WIND IN THE NIGHT" 27

"WHEN YOU HAD BEEN DEAD" 28

TO ROSE 29

OLIM MEMINISSE JUVABIT 30

HAUNTED 31

THE WINDY NIGHT 33

I SHALL NOT BE AFRAID 34

IN SPRING 35

HIGH HEART 36

CHRISTMAS 37

THE GARDEN CHILD , 38



[a.]



CONTENTS



PAGE

THE LOST FOREST 39

COW SONG 40

REMEMBRANCE 41

FLOWER DANCERS 42

MORNING-GLORIES 43

HILL-COUNTRY 44

COMPENSATION 45

IN A HALL BEDROOM 47

TO A YOUNG AVIATOR 49

THE MASQUERADER 50

THE MORNING SHADOW 51

AFTER GRIEVING 52

SPRING SORROW 53

AGE INVADING 54

PORTRAIT OF AN OLD LADY 55

TO TWO LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR 56

MOUNTAINS 57

TO A LADY COMPLIMENTING 59

GREEN GRAVEL 60

THE WHITE MOTH 62

HONEY-WITCH 63

TO A SILLY POOR SOUL 65

MOONLIGHT 67

MY MIRROR 68



CANDLES THAT BURN



CANDLES THAT BURN



AMBITION

Kenton and Deborah, Michael and Rose,
These are fine children as all the world knows;
But into my arms in my dreams every night
Come Peter and Christopher, Faith and Delight.

Kenton is tropical, Rose is pure white,
Deborah shines like a star in the night;
Michael s round eyes are as blue as the sea,
And nothing on earth could be dearer to me.

But where is the baby with Faith can compare?
What is the colour of Peterkin s hair?
Who can make Christopher clear to my sight,
Or show me the eyes of my daughter Delight?

When people inquire I always just state:
"I have four nice children and hope to have eight.
Though the first four are pretty and certain to please,
Who knows but the rest may be nicer than these?"

[IS]



CANDLES THAT BURN



THE MOTHER S HELPER

I love all my children far more than I thought to ;
They do everything just the way that they ought to,
And the ones that can talk say their prayers as they re

taught to;

But still every night as I sit at my sewing,
My mind turned adrift on its own pleasures going,
Underneath my wild thoughts is a steady prayer flowing :

St. Brigid, please keep

My babies asleep!

St. Rita assists me when things are past bearing,
St. Christopher helps me when forth I am faring,
But the care of my children St. Brigid is sharing.
They are wilful and happy and dear beyond measure,
No riches could equal the worth of my treasure;
But in spite of my love and my pride and my pleasure,

St. Brigid, please keep

My babies asleep!



[14]



A DIDACTIC POEM TO DEBORAH



A DIDACTIC POEM TO DEBORAH

Deborah dear, when you are old,
Tired and grey, with pallid brow,

Where will you put the blue and gold
And radiant rose that tint you now?

You are so fair, so gay, so sweet!

How can I bear to watch you grow,
Knowing that soon those twinkling feet

Must go the ways all children go?

Deborah, put the blue and gold
And rosy beauty that is you,

Into your heart. that it may hold

Beauty to last your whole life through.

Then, though the world be tossed and torn,
Greyer than ashes and as sad,

Though fate may make your way forlorn,
Deborah dear, you shall be glad.



[15]



CANDLES THAT BURN



AN AUTUMN WALK WITH DEBORAH

Over the limp and sallow grasses,

Deborah, will you walk with me?
You may gather gentians in purple masses

And honeypods from the locust tree.

Brown leaves cover the partridge berry,
Holding it safe for your eager hand.

Barberry bright and cornelian cherry
Offering scarlet jewels stand.

I shall dress you up as an elf-queen, twining
Bittersweet wreaths for your golden head ;

Your leaf-brown cloak with its orange lining
I shall hang with garlands yellow and red.

Let us leave this place while the sunlight lingers
Lest the elves should covet your beauty bright.

The gentians fall from your tired fingers

As I carry you home through the fading light.



[16]



EXPERIENCE



EXPERIENCE

Deborah danced, when she was two,

As buttercups and daffodils do;

Spirited, frail, naively bold,

Her hair a ruffled crest of gold,

And whenever she spoke her voice went singing

Like water up from a fountain springing.

But now her step is quiet and slow;
She walks the way primroses go;
Her hair is yellow instead of gilt,
Her voice is losing its lovely lilt,
And in place of her wild, delightful ways
A quaint precision rules her days.

For Deborah now is three, and oh,

She knows so much that she did not know.



[17]



CANDLES THAT BURN



CANDLES THAT BURN

Candles that burn for a November birthday,

Wreathed round with asters and with goldenrod,

As you go upward in your radiant dying
Carry my prayer to God.

Tell Him she is so small and so rebellious,
Tell Him her words are music on her lips,

Tell Him I love her in her wayward beauty
Down to her fingertips.

Ask Him to keep her brave and true and lovely,

Vivid and happy, gay as she is now,
Ask Him to let no shadow touch her beauty,

No sorrow mar her brow.

All the sweet saints that came for her baptising,
Tell them I pray them to be always near.

Ask them to keep her little feet from stumbling,
Her gallant heart from fear.

Candles that burn for a November birthday,
Wreathed round with asters and with goldenrod,

As you go upward in your radiant dying,
Carry my prayer to God.

[18]



PREVISION



PREVISION

I know you are too dear to stay ;

You are so exquisitely sweet:
My lonely house will thrill some day

To echoes of your eager feet.

I hold your words within my heart,

So few, so infinitely dear;
^Watching your fluttering hands I start

At the corroding touch of fear.

A faint, unearthly music rings

From you to Heaven it is not far!

A mist about your beauty clings
Like a thin cloud before a star.

My heart shall keep the child I knew,
When you are really gone from me,

And spend its life remembering you
As shells remember the lost sea.



[19]



CANDLES THAT BURN



DOROTHY S GARDEN

Dear, in all your garden I have planted yellow lilies,
Dainty yellow lilies everywhere you go:

They are nodding slim and stately down the paths along

the hedges,
Delicately stepping they curtsey in a row.

So when you walk among them like a lily in your slim-
ness,

With your shining head just bending graciously,
All the little angels that look down upon your garden

Will wonder which is lily and which is Dorothy.



[20]



JUSTICE



JUSTICE

Michael, come in ! Stop crying at the idoor.

Come in and see the evil you have done.

Here is your sister s doll with one leg gone,
Naked and helpless on the playroom floor.
"Poor child! poor child! now he can never stand.

With one leg less he could not even sit !"
She mourned, but first, with swift avenging hand,

She smote, and I am proud of her for it.

Michael, my sympathies are all for you.

Your cherub mouth, your miserable eyes,

Your grey-blue smock tear-spattered and your cries
Shatter my heart, but what am I to do ?
He was her baby and the fear of bears

Lay heavy on him so he could not sleep
But in the crook of her dear arm, she swears.

So, Michael, she was right and you must weep.



[21]



CANDLES THAT BURN



FOR TWO BIRTHDAYS

Whenever- I light the candles for your birthday

My memory lights two more,
Two ghostly candles burning with your candles

Where hers burned once before.

Whenever I see you at your birthday table,

Across from you I see
A gentle ghost that sits among us laughing,

Laughing adorably.

She would have been the gayest at the party,
She always was the gladdest thing on earth:

Now she is gayer still, for she is taken
Into celestial mirth.

With God and all the saints and all the angels

She shares her birthday cake.
So let us keep your birthday candles burning

Joyously, for her sake.



[22]



TO KOSE AWAY



TO ROSE AWAY

Little white moon of my heart

Since you have gone away
I miss your cry when you wake by night,

Your smile when you wake by day.
I am glad when the daylight fades

For my dreams are lovely things ;
Then in the dark you come to me

On softly fluttering wings.

When in the afternoon,

Sailing the cloudless sky,
Over the shimmering summer earth

The pale little moon slips by,
In the curve of her frail white bow

Your shadowy face I see,
And I like to think that she has you there

Bringing you back to me.



[23]



CANDLES THAT BURN



FOR A PROUD BABY

Flower of children, if you knew

All the things you might be proud of !

Curls and dimples are a few

Charms you have a gracious crowd of.

With your dark, delightful eyes
You can break a heart or mend it.

I know you are not really wise,
But how well you can pretend it !

Though your wickedness and wit
Very clever in your sight be,

Yet you are not, I admit,
As conceited as you might be.



[24]



"YOU ARE MOKE BLESSED"



"YOU ARE MORE BLESSED"

You are more blessed than other babies are:
Your shining eyes grow brighter every day

With radiance that reminds me of the star
That showed where Jesus lay.

I like to think that you are set apart,

A flower that never sprang from earthly loam,

A rose of Heaven that nestles in my heart
And dreams about its home.



[*6]



CANDLES THAT BURN



TO A SICK CHILD

I would make you cookies

But you could not eat them ;
I would bring you roses

But you would not care.
In your scornful beauty,

Arrogant and patient,
Though I d die to please you

You lie silent there.

Your once wanton sister

Creeps about on tiptoe,
And your brother hurries

At your slightest nod :
Watching at your bedside

When you sleep I tremble
Lest before you waken

You go back to God.



[26]



"A WIND IN THE NIGHT"



"A WIND IN THE NIGHT *

A wind rose in the night,

(She had always feared it so!)

Sorrow plucked at my heart
And I could not help but go.

Softly I went and stood

By her door at the end of the hall.
Dazed with grief I watched

The candles flaring and tall.

The wind was wailing aloud:

I thought how she would have cried

For my warm familiar arms
And the sense of me by her side.

The candles flickered and leapt,
The shadows jumped on the wall.

She lay before me small and still
And did not care at all.



[27]



CANDLES THAT BURN



"WHEN YOU HAD BEEN DEAD"

When you had been dead a week

I entered a shining shop,

And there in a neat pink row

Lay little dolls made of soap.

And I thought, "I will take one homt.

How she will laugh to see it!

How it will bob in her bath

And slip through her dripping fingers !"

Only a moment I smiled.

Only a moment I dreamed it.

Then my heart stood still with pain

And I went out into the darkness.



TO aOSE



TO ROSE

They told me the one who died would be always near me,
That I had one child who could never grow old and
sad;

I should always have your beautiful face to cheer me,
Your voice to make me glad.

Oh, I have prayed till my heart was weary with praying,
Hoping, if only in dreams, to feel you near,

To find the truth in what they were always saying
That you would be with me, dear.

Were they only trying to help me face the morrow?

Or did they really believe the things they said?
The only dream 1 have had of you brought but sorrow:

I dreamed that you were not dead.



[89]



CANDLES THAT BURN



OLIM MEMINISSE JUVABIT

Sometime it may be pleasing to remember

The curls about your brow,
To talk about your eyes, your smile, your clearness,

But it is anguish now.

Often I feel that I must speak and tell them

Of all your golden ways,
How all the words you ever spoke were happy.

Joy-filled your laughing days.

But though I miss you every empty moment

Of all my longing years,
How can I speak about your thrilling beauty

When all my thoughts are tears?

Sometime it may be pleasing to remember

The curls about your brow,

The way you turned your head, your hands, youi*
laughter,

But oh, not now, not now !



[80]



HAUNTED



HAUNTED

Your dying lips were proud and sweet
And when you turned your head away
Against the pillow where you lay
My heart was broken at your feet.

quivering lips that would be gay,
What was it that you tried to say?
There was a thing you would have said,
There was a word you never spoke;

It rose between us by your bed.
There came a look of hurt surprise
In your unfathomable eyes,
And then it was that my heart broke.

So now wherever I may turn

1 see your wistful, following eyes;
I see that anguished question burn
On lips that laugh in Paradise.

If I had been in your dear place
You never would have failed me so!
You always read upon my face

[31]



CANDLES THAT BURN



Thoughts that myself could scarcely know.
Oh, how I scorned my fettered soul
Because it could not leap the space
That held me from your lovely goal !

How many a trivial little word
And things you said to me apart,
Strange sayings no one else has heard,
I keep safe buried in my heart.
But the last thing you would have said,
I shall not know it : you are dead.



[32]



THE WINDY NIGHT



THE WINDY NIGHT

You say you love to hear the wind
Like brazen trumpets in the night;

That all its martial panoply

Wakes in your soul a wild delight.

You like to hear upon the roof
The silver lances of the rain,

And see the birches cavalry

Go sweeping past the window-pane:

To see tall chestnuts fall like towers,
While all our happy house is still,

And like a charge with bayonets
The cedar trees rush up the hill.

But I lie trembling in the night,
As dark and wild as night can be,

Remembering songs that you have made
Till through the night you come to me.



[33]



CANDLES THAT BURN



I SHALL NOT BE AFRAID

I shall not be afraid any more,

Either by night or day;
What would it profit me to be afraid

With you away?

Now I am brave. In the dark night alone

All through the house I go,
Locking the doors and making windows fast

When sharp winds blow.

For there is only sorrow in my heart ;

There is no room for fear.
But how I wish I were afraid again,

My dear, my dear!



[34]



IN SPRING



IN SPRING

I do not know which is worse when you are away:
Long grey days with the lisping sound of the rain

And then when the lilac dusk is beginning to fall
The thought that perhaps you may never come back
again ;

Or days when the world is a shimmer of blue and gold,
Sparkling newly all in the dear spring weather,

When with a heart that is torn apart by pain
I walk alone in ways that we went together.



[35]



CANDLES THAT BURN



HIGH HEART

The sea that I watch from my window

Is grey and white;
I see it toss in the darkness

All the night.
My soul swoops down to sorrow

As the sea-gulls dip,
And all my love flies after

Your lonely ship.

Yet I am not despairing

Though we must part,
Nothing can be too bitter

For my high heart.
All in the dreary midnight,

Watching the flying foam,
I wait for the golden morning

When you come home.



[36]



CHRISTMAS



CHRISTMAS

"And shall you have a Tree," they say,
"Now one is dead and one away?"

Oh, I shall have a Christmas Tree!
Brighter than ever it shall be;
Dressed out with coloured lights to make
The room all glorious for your sake.
And under the Tree a Child shall sleep
Near shepherds watching their wooden sheep.
Threads of silver and nets of gold,
Scarlet bubbles the Tree shall hold,
And little glass bells that tinkle clear.
I shall trim it alone but feel you near.

And when Christmas Day is almost done,
When they all grow sleepy one by one,
When Kenton s books have all been read,
When Deborah s climbing the stairs to bed,

I shall sit alone by the fire and see
Ghosts of you both come close to me.
For the dead and the absent always stay
With the one they love on Christmas Day.

[37]



CANDLES THAT BUEN



THE GARDEN CHILD

Once in my childhood I knew an old garden,

Shut in by grey pickets and crowded with grass ;

Old flowers grew in it, clove pinks and white lilies,
And moss roses choked up the path with their mass.

It lay all alone in the curve of a river

Where little grey boats floated by on the tide ;

No dwelling was near it, no pathway led to it,
And harsh river-grasses crept up on each side.

Spedwell and lavender, small brown chrysanthemums,
Mixed in great tangles where myrtle ran wild,

And sweetly mysterious, safe though unguarded,
Lay hid in a corner the grave of a child.

X

Often I wondered if that child had played there,
Played there as I, twining wreaths for my hair,

When the pickets were white and the flowers were tended
And no little grave held its mystery there.

Who were the people who once had lived near there
Making the wilderness bloom like a rose,

Then left like a dream leaving nothing behind them
But the grave of a child in a small garden-close?

[38]



THE LOST FOREST



THE LOST FOREST

I walked with my mother
Where the tall trees grow,

And she showed me tiny tables
Where the elves sit in a row,

And the bells that ring to call them
When the night winds blow.

There were small frosted toadstools,

And little cups of wine,
And velvet banks to rest on

Where moss grew thick and fine,
And a smooth brown ring for dancing

Underneath a pine.

But now when I go walking

All the way is clear;
The little bells are silent

And the moss grown sere,
And I know that in the moonlight

Not an elf comes near.

x

[89]



CANDLES THAT BURN



COW SONG

Klang! Kling! the cow-bells ring
As the cows come home at night.

Slowly they pass over the grass,
Black and brown and white.

Sleepy and slow each one will go
With daisies and clover in her;

At the milking stall she ll give them all
As milk for Kent on s dinner.



[40]



EEMEMBKANCE



REMEMBRANCE

I went back to a place I knew

When I was very, very small;
The same old yellow roses grew

Against the same old wall.

Each thing I knew was in its place ;

The well, the white stones by the road,
The box-hedge with its cobweb lace,

And a small spotted toad.

And yet the place seemed changed and still ;

The house itself had shrunk, I know.
And then my eyes began to fill

For I had always loved it so !



[41]



CANDLES THAT BURN



FLOWER DANCERS

To-day I played with flowers,
The yellow, yellow daisies,
The rainbow morning-glories

And lilies pale and grand.
They held their dainty skirts out,
They bowed among the grasses,
And danced a tilting minuet

Shadowy hand in hand.



[42]



MORNING-GLORIES



MORNING-GLORIES

When I was small I used to play
In an old garden bright with flowers.

I often used to run away

From home, and play in there for hours.

There were two ladies who lived there,
Dressed all in black with creamy laces.

They had soft snowy puffs of hair
And wrinkled, pleasant, dim old faces.

They had such kind and pretty ways !

They used to tell me lovely stories,
And let me on warm sunny days

Blow bubbles with great morning-glories.

I wonder if they know how much
I think of them now I am older.

I often seem to feel the touch

Of soft old hands upon my shoulder.



[43]



CANDLES THAT BURN



HILL-COUNTRY

Brown hill I have left behind,
Why do you haunt me so?

You never were warm and kind
And I was glad to go.

Is it because there lies,

Up in your cold brown breast,
One who brought joy to my eyes

And to my heart brought rest?

Never again shall I see

The flash in her answering eye.
Never again shall the heart in me

Stir as she passes by.

Hill, you are proud and cold,
Haughty and high your face ;

Is it, O hill, because you hold
Her in your grim embrace?



[44]



COMPENSATION



COMPENSATION

I have two children: one who came

When on my head
Life shed its joys without a thought

Of pain or dread ;
And one when ashes of despair

Blackened my bread.

My child of joy has sombre eyes

Like Mimer s well;
Surely the secrets of the world

Those lips could tell;
And wisdom on his infant soul

Untimely fell.

My child of woe has laughing eyes

Like dancing light ;
A leaping flame of innocence

Has burned her white ;
And in her face I dare not look,

It is so bright.

[45]



CANDLES THAT BURN



My little pagan s life should hold

Joy without taint;
Under the gleaming sword of pain

His soul might faint:
Not all the powers of Hell could daunt

My happy saint!



[46]



IN A HALL BEDROOM



IN A HALL BEDROOM

"In the long border on the right

I shall plant larkspur first," she thinks.
"Peonies and chrysanthemums

And then sweet-scented maiden pinks.

"The border on the left shall hold

Nothing but masses of white phlox.
Forget-me-nots shall edge this one,
The one across be edged with box.

"The sun-dial in the centre stands.

There morning-glories bright shall twine.
And in the strip at either end

Shall grow great clumps of columbine.

"There is no garden in the world

So beautiful as mine," she dreams.
Rising, she walks the little space
To where her narrow window gleams.

[47]



CANDLES THAT BURN



She gazes through the dingy pane
To where the street is noisy still,

And tends with pitiable care
A tulip on the window-sill.



[48]



TO A YOUNG AVIATOR



TO A YOUNG AVIATOE

|When you go up to die

Some not far distant day,
I wonder will you try
To tear your mask away,
And look life in the eyes
For once without disguise?

Behind your mask may hide

What treacherous, covered fires !
What hidden, torturing pride!
What sorrows, what desires!
Whatever there may be
There will be none to see.

Yet I think when you meet

Death coming through the skies,
Calmly his face you ll greet,
Coldly, without surprise ;
Then die without a moan,
Still masked although alone.

[49]



CANDLES THAT BURN



THE MASQUERADER

You were no more to me than many others,
I never thought you beautiful or bright,

And yet I find your memory returning
Many a night.

Again I hear your strange, heart-broken laughter,
Laughter more pitiful than any tears ;

Again I see your gallant head uplifted
Through heavy years.

You held so tight the fragile toy you wanted,
And when it broke you would not let it go ;

You would not let us guess your heart broke with it-
You played you did not know.

Now you are gone we see how well you suffered,
We see the valiant way you struggled on.

Can you forgive our foolish condescension,
Now you are gone?



[50]



THE MORNING SHADOW



THE MORNING SHADOW

I who have never known sorrow

Wait for it morning and evening;

For the footstep of grief on my threshold,

The drip of tears on my hearthstone,

The pitiless hours of lonely, uncomforted woe.

Never a life without sorrow!
But, oh, when will mine be upon me?
When will the years seem long
That now slip happily by me?
The light of the skies be dimmed
To eyes that are weary with weeping?



[51]



CANDLES THAT BURN



AFTER GRIEVING

When I was young I was so sad !

I was so sad! I did not know
Why any living thing was glad

Vhen one must some day sorrow so.
But now that grief has come to me
My heart is like a bird set free.

I always knew that it would come ;

I always felt it waiting there:
Its shadow kept my glad voice dumb
And crushed my gay soul with despair.
But now that I have lived with grief
I feel an exquisite relief.

Athletes who know their proven strength,
Ships that have shamed the hurricane:
These are my brothers, and at length
I shall c.ome back to joy again.
However hard my life may be
I know it shall not conquer me.



SPRING SORROW



SPRING SORROW

Sorrow to see the spring!
Why do we smile when she wakes the rose?
For sleep is sweeter as every one knows,

And cruel the wakening.

Hark to a weary sound !
It is the sap that swells like tears
In the heart of trees that are grey with years,

And falls like tears to the ground.

Futile the brave display,
The pitiful challenge of bud and leaf,
The proud pretence that is yet so brief

And dies, like spring, in a day.

Sorrow to see the spring!
Why are we glad at the birth of the rose?
For death is better as every one knows,


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