PORTRAIT OF A BOY
by: Stephen Vincent Benét
- FTER the
whipping he crawled into bed,
- Accepting the harsh fact with no great weeping.
- How funny uncle's hat had looked striped red!
- He chuckled silently. The moon came, sweeping
- A black, frayed rag of tattered cloud before
- In scorning; very pure and pale she seemed,
- Flooding his bed with radiance. On the floor
- Fat motes danced. He sobbed, closed his eyes and dreamed.
- Warm sands flowed round him. Blurts of crimson light
- Splashed the white grains like blood. Pas the cave's mouth
- Shone with a large, fierce splendor, wildly bright,
- The crooked constellations of the South;
- Here the Cross swung; and there, affronting Mars,
- The Centaur stormed aside a froth of stars.
- Within, great casks, like wattled aldermen,
- Sighed of enormous feasts, and cloth of gold
- Glowed on the walls like hot desire. Again,
- Beside webbed purples from some galleon's hold,
- A black chest bore the skull and bones in white
- Above a scrawled "Gunpowder!" By the flames,
- Decked out in crimson, gemmed with syenite,
- Hailing their fellows with outrageous names,
- The pirates sat and diced. Their eyes were moons.
- "Doubloons!" they said. The words crashed gold.
MORE POEMS BY BENÉT
'Portrait of a Boy' was originally
published by Stephen Vincent Benét in 1917.