An attractive table, round and neat.
Presided over by faces sweet;
Wafers and candy by fair hands passed.
And I’m having my afternoon tea, at last.
Luxurious pillows, an easy chair;
Odors of violets filling the air.
The mingling voices of women and men.
Discussing events that are and have been.
My thoughts are dreamily lifting to things
More ideal than commonplace brings.
When a bit of gossip commands my ear.
Wafted from someone to someone near.
Touching lightly a woman’s name;
Adding a thoughtless word of blame.
Oh, why could they not let that scandal rest.
Who welcomed her once as an honored guest?
My illusion is ended; no longer the light
Of the sweet-scented room is delicious and bright;
For gossip, that poison, has sifted, I see.
To the very dregs of the afternoon tea.
from Some Poems, by Clara Louise Lawrence
Carlton, Pennsylvania: Publisher unknown, 1914
Available on the Internet Archive: Link
This is one in a series of neglected poems taken from the Internet Archive.