Violets by Mabel Forrest

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A little, wizened, old-man face,
   Seamed with a thousand futile cares, 
And as I pass I idly note
That, in the lapel of his coat,
   A bunch of violets he wears.

A sparse white beard his chin adorns;
   His decent clothes are thin and worn 
Not able from the ranks to rise;  
No hustler he, not over wise;
   Firm in the groove where he was born. 

The shiny elbow of his sleeve,
   The pale complexion shows the clerk, 
Then why should he those flowers wear 
That speak to me of perfumed hair  
   And starpoints shim'ring in the dark! 

That show to me the sunken fence,
   The long lush grass about our feet, 
And her hot cheek against my own,
While night as warm as day has grown,
   All overpowered with violets sweet. 

That little wizened, old-man face,
   Where only sordid cares I note,
May hide, like mine, an old heart-break 
He, too, for some lost woman's sake
   May wear those violets in his coat.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 21 September 1904

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

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