Stage Love

When the game began between them for a jest,

He played king and she played queen to match the best;

Laughter soft as tears, and tears that turned to laughter,

These were things she sought for years and sorrowed after.

Pleasure with dry lips, and pain that walks by night;

All the sting and all the stain of long delight;

These were things she knew not of, that knew not of her,

When she played at half a love with half a lover.

Time was chorus, gave them cues to laugh or cry;


They would kill, befool, amuse him, let him die;

Set him webs to weave to-day and break to-morrow,

Till he died for good in play, and rose in sorrow.

What the years mean; how time dies and is not slain;

How love grows and laughs and cries and wanes again;

These were things she came to know, and take their measure,

When the play was played out so for one man’s pleasure.