I used to think Miss Kale so kind
to ask us in to lunch with her
on rainy mornings, when the wind
blew all the clouds in a soft grey fur
right past her kitchen window, where
her pet canary took the air
behind gold wires, and sang his song
most pitifully woe-begone.
We sat together very still,
until Miss Kale brought in the cloth,
nor did we move at all until
she gave us her own famous broth
in side-board plates, and paused awhile,
rapt by the strangeness of her smile.
Then quickly she stroked back her hair,
and smiled again, and took her chair.
And all the time she told us tales
about the secret no man knows,
and the huge dragon with seven tails
that dwells with the Old Man of the Snows;
and the monstrous yak with sullen eye
always revolving without knowing why,
and the great giant with knobbly knees
who groans for ever beneath the sea.
And we, entranced, were half afraid
of her soft voice and her dark eyes,
and somehow we were quite dismayed
to find Miss Kale had grown so wise.
She sat in silence all the while
with that strange, cold, unworldly smile
we could never understand
twisting the tray-cloth in her hand.