The White Feather: The Confessions of a Lady on Distress by C.J. Dennis

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I sent a white feather to George to-night --
   The coward who stays behind!
Was ever a maiden in such a plight?
My lover is sailing away to fight!
   And -- why is a man so blind?

Ah, me! but my lover has gone from sight,
   I shall never see him more!
Alone must I mourn for my absent knight.
But George got a feather -- and serves him right!
   I pray it hurts him sore!

I hope he will write when he sees the thing,
   I hope he will guess 'twas I!
I want him to squirm at the scorn I fling;
I'd love to be near him and see it sting,
   And -- I wonder if he'll reply?

I sent a white feather to George.  Ah, me!
   To Gus I have waved farewell --
Dear Gus, who is faring across the sea
To fight for his country, his flag -- and me!
   And the other -- how can I tell?

Oh, how can I tell of the awful mess
   I've made of the whole affair?
Yet how was a poor little girl to guess
The end of it all would be dire distress,
   When I played with that spoony pair?

Yes, Gussie and George they were courting me,
   And both of them seemed quite nice;
For George is as handsome as he can be,
And Gussie is little, but jolly and free;
   And neither was prone to vice.

Now, wasn't I luck with two such swains?
   And how could a maiden choose?
For Gussie was witty and blest with brains;
But George offered dresses and sundry gains
   That prudence should not refuse.

I think, on the whole, it was George that led.
   He had - oh, such splendid eyes!
But darling old Gus, with the things he said,
Would easily turn any poor maid's head
   Of she wasn't extremely wise.

So I played with them both, as a maiden will,
   And smiled at their fret and fuss.
Dear George was my choice; but I flirted till
The war came upon us. Then, prudent still,
   I said: "Well, it must be Gus!"

For George seemed so handsome, so strong and brave,
   I thought he was sure to go.
One boy of the two for myself to save
Was just: so my answer I sweetly gave,
   And sent him away with "No."

Ah, me!  I accepted poor Gus next day.
   I had it worked out so grand!
Dear George, broken-hearted, would sail away
To bury his sorrow; while Gus would stay.
   Now, wasn't that nicely planned?

Oh I dreamed of it all as I sat alone.
   If each had but played his part!
Poor George was to die with a love-lorn moan,
And then, ever after, would Gus atone
   To my bruised, remorseful heart.

But -- I sent a white feather to George to-night;
   And my lover I've kissed good-bye.
Brave Gus, who is sailing away to fight!
And what holds the other?  Mere craven fright!
   Oh -- I wonder if he'll reply?

First published in The Bulletin, 29 April 1915

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 29, 2013 7:26 AM.

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