You’re never serious at 17.
One great night, full of pints and lemonade,
You’ve had enough of cafés, so you stroll
Beneath green lime trees on the promenade.
The lime trees smell so good at night in June!
Sometimes the air’s so soft it makes you blink.
The wind from off the town is charged with noise
And smells of grape, of ale and stronger drink . . .
Look there, you see a tiny handkerchief
Of dark blue, framed by branches in the night,
Pierced by a hapless star that melts away
With one soft shudder, beautifully white . . .
You’re 17! In June! It gets you high —
The sap’s champagne: it makes your whole head ring . . .
You ramble — suddenly you feel a kiss
That flutters on your lips like a live thing . . .
Below the halo of a pale street lamp,
Your heart invents a novel, and goes mad
Because a young miss stopped to sneak a glance
Beneath the menacing shadow of her dad . . .
And just because she thinks you’re such a child,
She trots on by and swings her little hips
And gives a shrug that slugs you in the gut,
While cavatinas die upon your lips . . .
Now you’re in love — till August anyway.
You’ll make her laugh! You’ll write her poetry!
But still you’re shunned as if you tasted bad
Until, one night, the dear one writes to thee!
That night you wander back to the cafés.
You order up more pints and lemonade . . .
You’re never serious at 17
When limes grow green above the promenade.