And he who had cursed at the yellow sun
Held the flask to it and wiped away the dust.
And he bore the flask to the brightest spot,
Where the shadow of the hill fell clear;
And he turned the flask, and he looked at the flask,
And the sun shone without his sneer.
Then he carried it home, and put it on a shelf,
But it was only grey in the gloom.
So he fetched a pail, and a bit of cloth,
And he went outside with a broom.
And he washed his windows just to let the sun
Lie upon his new-found vase;
And when evening came, he moved it down
And put it on a table near the place
Where a candle fluttered in a draught from the door.
The old man forgot to swear,
Watching its shadow grown a mammoth size,
Dancing in the kitchen there.
He forgot to revile the sun next morning
When he found his vase afire in its light.
And he carried it out of the house that day,
And kept it close beside him until night.
And so it happened from day to day.
The old man fed his life
On the beauty of his vase, on its perfect shape.
And his soul forgot its former strife.
And the village-folk came and begged to see
The flagon which was dug from the ground.
And the old man never thought of an oath, in his joy
At showing what he had found.
One day the master of the village school
Passed him as he stooped at toil,
Hoeing for a bean-row, and at his side
Was the vase, on the turned-up soil.
"My friend," said the schoolmaster, pompous and kind,
"That's a valuable thing you have there,
But it might get broken out of doors,
It should meet with the utmost care.
What are you doing with it out here?"
"Why, Sir," said the poor old man,
"I like to have it about, do you see?
To be with it all I can."
"You will smash it," said the schoolmaster, sternly right,
"Mark my words and see!"
And he walked away, while the old man looked
At his treasure despondingly.
Then he smiled to himself, for it was his!
He had toiled for it, and now he cared.
Yes! loved its shape, and its subtle, swift hues,
Which his own hard work had bared.
He would carry it round with him everywhere,
As it gave him joy to do.
A fragile vase should not stand in a bean-row!
Who would dare to say so? Who?
Then his heart was rested, and his fears gave way,
And he bent to his hoe again....
A clod rolled down, and his foot slipped back,
And he lurched with a cry of pain.
For the blade of the hoe crashed into glass,
And the vase fell to iridescent sherds.
The old man's body heaved with slow, dry sobs.
He did not curse, he had no words.
He gathered the fragments, one by one,
And his fingers were cut and torn.Download<<BackPagesMainNext>>