[from Collected Works, T.E.Brown]


WHAT sees our mailie 1 in the lily-pool,
What sees she with that large surprise ?
What sees our mailie in the lily-pool
With all the violet of her big eyes—
Our mailie in the lily-pool?

She sees herself within the lily-pool,
Herself in flakes of brown and white—
Herself beneath the slab that is the lily-pool,
The green and liquid slab of light
With cups of silver dight,
Stem-rooted in the depths of amber night
That hold the hollows of the iily-pool_.
Our own dear lily-pool!

And does she gaze into the lily-pool
. As one that is enchanted?
Or does she try the cause to find
How the reflection’s slanted,
That sleeps within the lily-pool ?
Or does she take it all for granted,
With the sweet natural logic of her kind?
The lazy logic of the lily-pool,
Our own bright, innocent, stupid lily-pool!

She knows that it is nice—our lily-pool:
She likes the water-rings around her knees;
She likes the shadow of the trees,
That droop above the lily-pool;
She likes to scatter with a silly sneeze
The long-legged flies that skim the lily-pool—
The peaceful-sleeping, baby lily-pool.

So may I look upon the lily-pool,
Nor ever in the slightest care
Why I am there;
Why upon land and sea
Is ever stamped the inevitable me;
But rather say with that most gentle fool :—
" How pleasant is this lily-pool!
How nice and cool!
Be off, you long-legged flies ! O what a spree!
To drive the flies from off the lily-pool!
From off this most sufficient, absolute lily-pool !"

1 A cow without horns.


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2000