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Anne Blackwell Payne



The moon lets down her glistening hair That ripples on the lake; They say, who climbs its golden strands Her heart may take.Once, was a Princess in a tower, A cruel one attending; A Prince who climbed too many times To make a happy ending.And were [...]

Joseph to Mary

Safely through the crowd that pressed her, Piloting a Syrian lass, Careful hands upon the bridle, Joseph walked beside the ass.Dark eyes lifted, anxious, searching, Watched her face against the gloom. Close he leaned to hear her question, “Do you [...]

I Have a Need for Fear

Father and Shepherd, hide Thyself, awhile: Long have I known Thee as a gentle God. Close Thy green pastures; Thy still waters, stir; And take Thy staff and rod.Loose me a little from Thy leniency: Burn in a bush, Oh, holy and austere; Lift waves and [...]

Silver Birch

How can this birch tree profit by the spring? No green or lustrous garment it can wear, Will recompense the loss of silver boughs That are so lovely bare.Clean as the moon without a wisp of cloud; White as a goddess carved upon a frieze; Its pale d [...]

On a Mirror Bought at Auction

Is this your final stage, this meagre room, Where sun, a feeble jester in the fog, Is lost at mid-day, while the sedulous gloom Hangs somber curtains for your epilogue? You that have paid in full each rosy debt; And every sparkling story have re-told [...]

It Might Have Mattered

Who timed your coming that it chanced too soon? My youth was strange and love a difficult tongue. I did not know one faltering word. The tune That you had mastered and the ages sung, Was high and breathless and it strangled me. If you had been [...]

And Dream of Wings

With such brief bodies ill-content, Age after age, we claim our souls; Insist on everlastingness, And tease our brows with aureoles. Walking on swift and certain feet, We lift our eyes and dream of wings, And so refuse as ultimate A country [...]

Beyond Sodom

What precious thing in that unholy town, So called you that you could not save yourself; Silver or gold, a jewel or a gown, Or something hidden on the highest shelf? Or was the gay, defenceless garden, there Under your window, and the almond tre [...]

As Drifted Dust

That ominous day, when Age shall pass my gate, Behind my hostile shutters, still as snow, A little cold and frightened I shall wait, That she may. think I'm not at home and go. But if she come again, and knock and knock, There is a crooked chair [...]

Concerning a Butterfly

This sentient, silken flag of June; Friend of the larkspur and the phlox, May be, in spite of certain fame, A small, resplendent paradox. The airy paths he flutters down, Perhaps, are circumspect and straight; No winged dalliance after dark At [...]

I Must Be Silent

Because I am a woman, I must be Silent, nor hint that this has come to pass: Hushing what I could sing so easily; Hiding my gold to give you sounding brass. Dearer than music is, than sun; more dear Than all the quick I love—than all the dead, [...]


I know, could I have kept you here with me, I would have walked the world, preoccupied. Forests and clouds and islands and the sea, I would have passed them over, absent-eyed, Without the homage of a quickened breath. April, October, neither wings no [...]