The New Penelope/The Vine
"Too many clusters weaken the vine"—
And that is why, on this morn in May,
She who should walk doth weakly recline
By the window whose view overlooks the Bay;
While I and the "clusters" dance in the sun,
Defying the breeze coming in from the sea,
Mocking the bird-song and chasing the bee,
Letting our fullness of mirth over-run,
While the "Vine" at the window smiles down on our glee.
If I should vow that these "clusters" are fair,
So, you would say, are a million more;
Ah, even jewels a rank must share—
Not every diamond's a Koh-i-noor!
Thus when our Lillian, needing but wings,
Plays us the queen of the fairies, we deem
Grace such as hers a bewildering dream—
Her laughter, her gestures, a dozen things,
Furnish our worshiping fondness a theme.
Or when our Alice, scarcely less tall,
And none the less fair, tries her slim baby feet,
Or a new has lisped, to the pride of us all,
Smiling, we cry, "was aught ever so sweet?"
Even wee Bertha, turning her eyes,
Searching and slow from one face to another—
Wrinkling her brow in a comic surprise,
And winking so soberly at her pale mother,
For a baby, is wondrously pretty and wise!
Well, let the "vine" recline in the sun—
Three such rare "clusters" in three short years,
Have sapped the red wine in her veins that should run—
For the choicest of species the gardener fears!
Lillian, queen of the lilies shall be,
Fair, tall and graceful—queenly in will;
Alice a Provence rose—rarely sweet she;
Bertha Narcissa—white daffodil—
And the "vine," once more strong, shall entwine around the three!