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MUNRO, Harold


When you have tidied all things for the night,

And while your thoughts are fading to their sleep,

You'll pause a moment in the late firelight,

Too sorrowful to weep.

The large and gentle furniture has stood

In sympathetic silence all the day

With that old kindness of domestic wood;

Nevertheless the haunted room will say:

"Someone must be away."

The little dog rolls over half awake,

Stretches his paws, yawns, looking up at you,

Wags his tail very slightly for your sake,

That you may feel he is unhappy too.

A distant engine whistles, or the floor

Creaks, or the wandering night-wind bangs a door

Silence is scattered like a broken glass.

The minutes prick their ears and run about,

Then one by one subside again and pass

Sedately in, monotonously out.

You bend your head and wipe away a tear.

Solitude walks one heavy step more near.

Overheard on a Saltmarsh

Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?

Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?

Give them me.


Give them me. Give them me.


Then I will howl all night in the reeds,

Lie in the mud and howl for them.

Goblin, why do you love them so?

They are better than stars or water,

Better than voices of winds that sing,

Better than any man’s fair daughter,

Your green glass beads on a silver ring.

Hush I stole them out of the moon.

Give me your beads, I desire them.


I will howl in a deep lagoon

For your green glass beads, I love them so.

Give them me. Give them.