WRITTEN WHILE A SOLDIER IN
MANILLA, P. I. AN ACTUAL CASE
Far out in the dreamy ocean, by Nature's beauty
Lie the Islands of the Philippines — the Flower
Blossom Land —
With flow'rs that seem most surely blown by the
rainbow's magic wand.
Their shores are kissed by the foaming waves
that race from the dancing seas,
As lambs that frolic in their play to their bound-
ing gay hearts' ease —
They wash the Sand-beach's feet to see just how
much they can tease.
Tall, massive, sturdy trees here stand, great
sentinels of might,
That seem to do their faithful watch so bravely
day and night;
One sees in these undaunted forms a sermon for
The glowing brightness of the sun ; the chyming
of the streams ;
The whispers of the leafy trees as the breezes
pass — It seems
That Nature gives one here a touch of all her
There seems to be a misty spell o'er all the world
And all below — and all around — I wonder if it's
And if it is the "sweety" kind that poets oft
write of !
There lived in this bright picture-land, not many
A native maid; I'll try to make her lovely
Before your eyes, for I am sure that you fair
Anita was this maiden's name — her people called
And th' love they showered over her to her was
Her happy heart shone in her hands and dainty
It seems as if the chestnut came and begged its
leave to place
Within the dimples of her cheeks and o'er her
Its richest hue, that it might here receive her
The moonbeams gave their streaming light to her
dark and wond'ring eyes,
They seemed to cast a flick'ring light twixt love
and fond surprise
One moment then the next they'd droop as a
wounded pansy dies.
But, of every touch of Nature's hand that made
this beauty fair.
The greatest glory of them all was clustered in
her hair —
A blending of the sunbeams' gold and th' flow-
ing midnight air.
Anita loved a soldier boy, a colored youth called
A soldier in her land. He heard a love sigh in
When she lisped his name the best she could — a
tiny little "Vob."
At first Bob seemed as true in love as duty's
soldier boy ;
They were both happy day by day — but not with
For when Bob learned of her great love he made
her heart his toy.
Time brought to Bob these sorrowing words
"To America you'll return" —
Now on his cheeks Anita's tears fell fast; and
seemed to burn
Their way into his dizzy brains! — Can he such
love e'er spurn?
Oh! take me to your dear homeland, "querido,"
will you, please?
I love you and I want to go with you o'er land or
"I'll take you with me home, my Love," Bob
"Let's go before the altar, dear, within your
For there alone can e'er we find the tie for which
Let's fly into one little nest on Love's exalted
"O, is this, really, true, now, Vob? — oh! say
when may we go
Before the altar in the church that we, by this,
The love we've cherished now so long and must
so surely know?"
Bob named the day, then in her eyes he saw her
But, lo ! the day he named to wed was his evasive
For on the day before he knew his home-boat
Time brought, at last, Anita's day and found her
all prepared —
And at her windowfall the day she stood and
looked and stared ;
But, Bob ne'er came to greet her there — and e'en
the waves were sad!
Bob tried to cheer his murm'ring heart while
sailing home that day: —
"O, well, I could not marry th' girl," he bravely
tried to say
But his heart rose up and choked his words in a
strang'ling kind of way.
"Come eat your porridge, *Nete,' my dear, 'tis
plain this man has lied."
" No, no, mama! O, no, papa! I cannot eat," she
"I'll wait for 'Vob,' he'll, surely, come to claim
me for his bride."
Day after day Anita stood and looked, but
would not eat !
Grief crept into her dark blue veins and coursed
from head to feet ;
He stole her breaths of beauty that had graced
her village street ;
And stole the moonlight from her eyes and fixed
dark pools, instead,
Of tears so deep and still that shone a tint of
evening's red —
Also, the cruel sorrow, too, by which her life was
He chased the chestnut shades away and gave
them to the seas ;
He stole the roundings of her cheeks and flung
them to the breeze ;
And being thus so shorn of strength she sank
upon her knees.
Thus was she found by Time, who came and
brought his servant, too.
Death, and he bade him, "Gently take this
broken hearted, true
And saddened, wasted love away to blossom in a
And better world! away from life that's now to
her so blue!"
"Oh, 'Nete,' please speak to us once more! we
cannot let you go!"
Her mother, father, brothers, cried — "Don't
leave us, love — oh, no!"
Her spirit dropped, now, in its flight, her whisper
"'Vob,' vou know!"
Published in Voices of Solitude, 1907