PLATONIC

I knew it the first of the Summer---
    I knew it the same at the end---
That you and your love were plighted,
    But couldn't you be my friend?
Couldn't we sit in the twilight,
    Couldn't we walk on the shore,
With only a pleasant friendship
    To bind us, and nothing more?

There was never a word of nonsense
    Spoken between us two,
Though we lingered oft in the garden
    Till the roses were wet with dew,
We touched on a thousand subjects---
    The moon and the stars above;
But our talk was tinctured with science,
    With never a hint of love.

"A wholly platonic friendship,"
    You said I had proved to you,
"Could bind a man and a woman
    The whole long season through,
With never a thought of folly,
    Though both are in their youth."
What would you have said, my lady,
    If you had known the truth?

Had I done what my mad heart prompted---
    Gone down on my knees to you.
And told you my passionate story
    There in the dusk and dew;
My burning, burdensome story,
    Hidden and hushed so long,
My story of hopeless loving---
    Say, would you have thought it wrong?

But I fought with my heart and conquered,
    I hid my wound from sight;
You were going away in the morning,
    And I said a calm good-night.

But now, when I sit in the twilight,
    Or when I walk by the sea,
That friendship quite "platonic"
    Comes surging over me.
And a passionate longing fills me
    For the roses, the dusk and the dew,---
For the beautiful Summer vanished---
    For the moonlit talks---and you.

Poetical works of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Edinburgh : W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell, 1917.


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