By Stephen Vincent Benét
The little man with the vague beard and guise
Pulled at the wicket. “Come inside!” he said,
“I’ll show you all we’ve got now—it was size
You wanted?—oh, dry colors! Well”—he led
To a dim alley lined with musty bins,
And pulled one fiercely. Violent and bold
A sudden tempest of mad, shrieking sins
Scarlet screamed out above the battered gold
Of tins and picture-frames. I held my breath.
He tugged another hard—and sapphire skies
Spread in vast quietude, serene as death,
O’er waves like crackled turquoise—and my eyes
Burnt with the blinding brilliance of calm sea!
“We’re selling that lot there out cheap!” said he.