James Berry Bensel (1856-1886)

"A native of New York city, he was a student in Lynn, Mass., a clerk in Boston, and, following his literary bent, an author and public reader.  His life is the pathetic and too familiar story of suffering and unfulfilled promise.  He published a volume of poems, In the King's Garden. (D. Lothrop & Co.)"  (Crandall)

From In the King's Garden (1885)

A Portrait

In the white sweetness of her dimpled chin
The pink points of her perfumed fingers press,
And 'round her tremulous mouth's loveliness
The tears and smiles a sudden strife begin:
First one and then the other seems to win:
And o'er her drooping eyes a golden tress
Falls down to hide what else they might confess
Their blue-veined lids are striving to shut in.
The yellow pearls that bind her throat about
With her pale bosom's throbbing rise or fall:
The while her thoughts like carrier-doves have fled
To that far land where armies clash and shout,
And where, beyond love's reach, a soldier tall
With staring eyes and broken sword lies dead.

(Text from American Sonnets)

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