The Red Coat by Myra Morris

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Beside the heap of smouldering fire
   The poor old woman sits --
Old Madeleine with high-veined hands
   And hardly any wits.

Her skirt drags down a rusty-green,
   Her boots are torn and spread,
But over her thin shoulder-blades
   There hangs a coat of red.

A coat that takes the light and flings
   It back derisively --
A mocking note that challenges
   Old age and penury!

And color-blind no longer I
   See poor old Madeleine,
I only vision splendid things,
   Old passions that have been!

Old pumps and gallantries of youth
   Go by; her voice is drowned
In laughter like a waterfall,
   In bursts of marching sound!

Gay ribbons wave from crowded walls,
   Tap-tap go dancing shoon;
A stooping, long-faced fiddler plays
   Beneath a harvest moon.

So gay the coat of Madeleine
   Around her shoulders flung,
I know that, though her eyes are old,
   Her heart is young, so young!

First published in The Bulletin, 25 December 1929

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 25, 2014 8:33 AM.

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