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Muriel Stuart

(1889-1967 / England)

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In the Orchard


'I thought you loved me.' 'No, it was only fun.'
'When we stood there, closer than all?' 'Well, the harvest moon
Was shining and queer in your hair, and it turned my head.'
'That made you?' 'Yes.' 'Just the moon and the light it made
Under the tree?' 'Well, your mouth, too.' 'Yes, my mouth?'
'And the quiet there that sang like the drum in the booth.
You shouldn't have danced like that.' 'Like what?' 'So close,
Whith your head turned up, and the flower in your hair, a rose
That smelt all warm.' 'I loved you. I thought you knew
I wouldn't have danced like that with any but you.'
'I didn't know, I thought you knew it was fun.'
'I thought it was love you meant.' 'Well, it's done.' 'Yes, it's done.
I've seen boys stone a blackbird, and watched them drown
A kitten... it clawed at the reeds, and they pushed it down
Into the pool while it screamed. Is that fun, too?'
'Well, boys are like that... Your brothers...' 'Yes, I know.
But you, so lovely and strong! Not you! Not you!'
'They don't understand it's cruel. It's only a game.'
'And are girls fun, too?' 'No, still in a way it's the same.
It's queer and lovely to have a girl...' 'Go on.'
'It makes you mad for a bit to feel she's your own,
And you laugh and kiss her, and maybe you give her a ring,
But it's only in fun.' 'But I gave you everything.'
'Well, you shouldn't have done it. You know what a fellow thinks
When a girl does that.' 'Yes, he talks of her over his drinks
And calles her a--' 'Stop that now, I thought you knew.'
'But it wasn't with anyone else. It was only you.'
'How did I know? I thought you wanted it too.
I thought you were like the rest. Well, what's to be done?'
'To be done' 'Is it all right?' 'Yes.' 'Sure?' 'Yes, but why?'
'I don't know, I thought you where going to cry.
You said you had something to tell me.' 'Yes, I know.
It wasn't anything relly... I think I'll go.'
'Yes, it's late. There's thunder about, a drop of rain
Fell on my hand in the dark. I'll see you again
At the dance next week. You're sure that everything's right?'
'Yes,' 'Well, I'll be going.' 'Kiss me...' 'Good night.' ... 'Good night.'

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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Read poems about / on: fun, girl, kiss, moon, hair, dance, flower, rose, tree, rain, night, dark, light

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  • Veteran Poet - 2,634 Points Terry Craddock (11/8/2014 10:26:00 PM)

    'I thought you loved me.' 'No, it was only fun.' This poem seems decades ahead of its time and it would be interesting to know a few background details. A combination of love on the run and love run through, with colloquial conversation skirting the spark of lust and consequences of some girls do and some girls don't.

    Beauty plucked ravished casually discarded like 'the flower in your hair, a rose'; and perhaps a hint of a growing pregnancy to be terminated with images of 'boys stone a blackbird, and watched them drown A kitten... it clawed at the reeds, and they pushed it down Into the pool while it screamed' which seem to suggest an aborted baby and his refusal of responsibility with final dark lines

    'There's thunder about, a drop of rain
    Fell on my hand in the dark. I'll see you again
    At the dance next week. You're sure that everything's right? '

    and his going echoed in 'Good night.'... 'Good night.' This is a poem loaded with metaphorical double meanings. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 13 Points Matthew Ross (11/8/2014 1:36:00 PM)

    this is beautifully harsh and stuart writes in such a way you can feel the girl wither under the truth. how the truth devours her spirit, simply because she committed herself to love and he committed to lust. if only love didn't have to have this possible ending (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 5,623 Points * Sunprincess * (5/27/2014 12:12:00 PM)

    ...........suppose there wasn't true love in this orchard....cause she talked him out of giving her a ring.
    ~It's queer and lovely to have a girl...' 'Go on.'
    'It makes you mad for a bit to feel she's your own,
    And you laugh and kiss her, and maybe you give her a ring, ~ (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Shiela Marie Anunciacion (11/9/2009 1:32:00 PM)

    this is truly a remarkable piece that shows the 'ugly truth'... i'm not that mean... but i think it shows the harsh reality of the difference in how a man's or a woman's mind/thoughts work in a certain situation...

    This is a beautiful poem...! ! ^_^ Love it! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 212 Points Ramesh T A (11/9/2009 10:40:00 AM)

    Boyish pleasure is actually animal pleasure enjoyed mostly by all! Muriel Stuart has depicted that very well in this long descriptive poem! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Herman Chiu (11/8/2009 12:37:00 PM)

    Very interesting poem... especially the uncommon choice of style.
    Are we men really that cruel? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Krista Churchill (11/8/2008 12:21:00 AM)

    very nice i love the ending true poem here nice write

    Please take a look at one of my poems thank you so much (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Cath Nichols (6/16/2008 10:09:00 AM)

    does the site give dates of when poems were first published? or where poems might belong to a longer collection?
    first time on the site...
    thanks (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Millie Smyth (6/12/2007 5:12:00 AM)

    I love this poem - one of my favourites.

    I think that the thing she wanted to tell him is that she is pregant perhaps? And when he says 'a dropp of rain fell on my hand in the dark', what he doesnt realise is that it is her tears? Just my interpretation of it! !

    and yes Muriel Stuart was born in 1889, but she died in 1967. What an incredible poet. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie quercus : I've never got paid for my hits... (11/8/2006 4:05:00 PM)

    Very well written story that pictures the psychological image of male and female
    way of feeling and thinking. It is so common for men to be unable to talk about their feelings and so characteristic for women to be too much naive.
    And somebody once said that we all are looking for love... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jonathan Horwitz (11/8/2004 2:34:00 PM)

    PS Murial, they give your birth year as 1889. Well done! But maybe it shoul be 1989? Again, and whatever age, well done. jh (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jonathan Horwitz (11/8/2004 2:30:00 PM)

    What a razor sharp reflection of the fear that separates us, and our longing to feel non-separation. Heart-breaking, and yet awakening compassion for both the man and the woman, and by extention for everyone who has reached out to touch or be touched and been cut or burned instead, or worse, locked in by fear. I look forward to reading more of your poems, Murial. This was my first poem of the day from this wonderful website. A beautiful baptism by Fire and Love (Report) Reply

Read all 13 comments »

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