Stops of Various Quills/The King Dines

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Howells, Stops of Various Quills, 1895 077 large a.jpg




WO people on a bench in Boston Common,
An ordinary laboring man and woman,
Seated together,
In the November weather
Slit with a thin, keen rain;
The woman's mouth purple with cold and pain,
And her eyes fixed as if they did not see
The passers trooping by continually,
Smearing the elm leaves underfoot that fall
Before her on the miry mall;
The man feeding out of the newspaper
Wrapped round the broken victuals brought with her,
And gnawing at a bent bone like a dog,
Following its curve hungrily with his teeth,
And his head twisted sidewise; and beneath
His reeking boots the mud, and the gray fog
Fathomless over him, and all the gloom
Of the day round him for his dining-room.