Here on the pale beach, in the darkness;
With the full moon just to rise;
They sit alone, and look over the sea,
Or into each other's eyes. . .
She pokes her parasol into the sleepy sand,
Or sifts the lazy whiteness through her hand.
'A lovely night,' he says, 'the moon,
Comes up for you and me.
Just like a blind old spotlight there,
Fizzing across the sea!'
She pays no heed, nor even turns her head:
He slides his arm around her waist instead.
'Why don't we do a sketch together--
Those songs you sing are swell.
Where did you get them, anyway?
They suit you awfully well.'
She will not turn to him--will not resist.
Impassive, she submits to being kissed.
'My husband wrote all four of them.
You know,--my husband drowned.
He was always sickly, soon depressed. . .'
But still she hears the sound
Of a stateroom door shut hard, and footsteps going
Swiftly and steadily, and the dark sea flowing.
She hears the dark sea flowing, and sees his eyes
Hollow with disenchantment, sick surprise,--
And hate of her whom he had loved too well. . .
She lowers her eyes, demurely prods a shell.
'Yes. We might do an act together.
That would be very nice.'
He kisses her passionately, and thinks
She's carnal, but cold as ice.
Conrad Potter Aiken