Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
The Doll
By Agnes Lee
    The father
There’s something strange about the child tonight.
I scolded her because she had forgotten
To fill the stove. She never said a word,
But stood and smiled, as if she might be dreaming.
    The mother
This morning I went out to buy the dinner.
I didn’t like to leave her, so I took her.
Well, she was tired from the time we started.
I had to yank her by the arm and pull her.
We went to see the window-show at Field’s.
Oh my!—the dolls! From the first, one held her eye—        10
A girl, a life-size two-year-old, with a dress
Hand-work all over, and silk socks and slippers.
It couldn’t have cost less than fifty dollars.
She looked, and couldn’t seem to turn away.
At last she said: “I want to be its mother.”        15
Then it came to me—what the doctor told us—
Her heart was weak, and we must humor her.
I said: “You’ll get it for a Christmas present.”
Anyhow I’ve had peaceful hours since then.
She hasn’t fussed, nor had a fainting-spell.        20
That shows she can be all right, if she’s a mind to.
But what on earth’ll we say to her to-morrow?
    The father
We’ll say how Santa Claus got stuck in the snow.
    The mother
Now hark, I hear her humming in her bed!
She always hums, and never sings out words.        25
    The song they may not hear
        I shall draw her very close to me,
        With my love.
        Oh, could anything more beautiful be
        Dreamed of?
        She is coming. I must wait,        30
        I must wait.
    The mother
It’s all because I let her go to school.
I never was a one for education
For children of her age. It gives ’em notions,
And sets ’em looking up too high at things.        35
    The song they may not hear
        My sweet child is like a flower’s light.
        So is She,
        Wonderful Our Lady in the night
        Near me.
        She will help me sleep and wait,        40
        Sleep and wait.
    The father
I’ll just go out and look along the street—
The men have stood all day there peddling toys.
I’ll just go out and buy a top for her.
    The mother
Let her be satisfied with goose for dinner,
And a bag of candy from the school-house tree.
    The song they may not hear
        I shall hold my daughter’s finger-tips—
        How they shine!
        I shall almost dare to touch her lips
        With mine.        50
        I must try to sleep and wait,
        Sleep and wait.
    The mother
How can we tell her?—that’s what’s bothering me.
How can we tell her, tell her?—answer that!
Oh, somehow I’m afraid to think of it—        55
The dark in her eyes I know she’ll have to-morrow,
When she comes looking, and it isn’t here!

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