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Poem by Ellis Parker Butler


The Ballade of the Mistletoe Bough


I am standing under the mistletoe,
  And I smile, but no answering smile replies
For her haughty glance bids me plainly know
  That not for me is the thing I prize;
Instead, from her coldly scornful eyes,
  Indifference looks on my barefaced guile;
She knows, of course, what my act implies
  But look at those lips! Do they hint a smile?

I stand here, eager, and beam and glow,
  And she only looks a refined surprise
As clear and crisp and as cold as snow,
  And asStop! I will never criticise!
I know what her cold glance signifies;
  But Ill stand just here as I am awhile
Till a smile to my pleading look replies
  But look at those lips! Do they hint a smile?

Just look at those lips, now! I claim they show
  A spirit unmeet under Christmas skies;
I claim that such lips on such maidens owe
  Asomethingthe custom justifies;
I claim that the mistletoe rule applies
  To her as well as the rank and file;
We should meet these things in a cheerful guise
  But look at those lips! Do they hint a smile?

ENVOY

These customs of Christmas may shock the wise,
  And mistletoe boughs may be out of style,
And a kiss be a thing that all maids despise
  But look at those lips, do! They hint a smile!



Ellis Parker Butler


Ellis Parker Butler's other poems:
  1. New England Magazine
  2. The Rich Boys Christmas
  3. Why I Went to the Foot
  4. Cupid Caught Napping
  5. The Final Tax


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