Emanuel Swedenborg.

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IflSSB LIBRARY




TUFF

An Anthology of Verse




BOSTON

THE FOUR SEAS COMPANY
1919



Copyright, ipip, by
THE FOUR SEAS COMPANY



Boston, Mass., U. S. A.
The Four Seas Press



STUFF

Page

E. F. J.

PAD . 9

ALONE IO

ENTRE NOUS II

MECHANTE 12

IF I COULD 13

A. L. J.

MONKEY SPEAKS 14

FRUSTRA 15

THE SPIDER l6

TEMPLE WOMEN 17

G. K.

TIME TELLS l8

I SEE MOTION 19

BETWEEN 20

AN OLD SHIELD , 21



STUFF

Page

R. C. P.

FRUIT 22

MURRE OF THE FARALLONES 24

THE HUSBAND ... 25

THE JOKE 26

I ASK YOU 27

M. I. B.

THE BEACH 28

SMOKE, PUFF 29

OWN? 3O

STREET CORNER ON BROADWAY 3!

M. T. B.

BRONZE BUDDHA 32

MOMENT ENCHANTE 33

RACE 34

YOU DON'T LIKE . . . ? 35

AT SIX 36

w. w.

MERCURY 37

SUPPER 38

FOG 39

DANCE OF THE SAND SPRITE . ... . 41



ILLUSTRATIONS

BY
A. C.



PAD

We, snuggling sit

quite close

Encircled by tenuous moonlight
Saturated with the dews of dusk.

We chant
in a blinky way,
love lorn frogs

on
A lily pad.



[9]



ALONE

On the green cobweb-cracked window shade
Wrinkled and worn from shielding many mes
Two sunbeams flaunt and twirl themselves.

They intoxicate,
They beckon :

"Come out, that you too may dance
With one other, shimmery and warm!"

Then all is blurred I am alone
Behind the wrinkled window shade

With another lost me.



[10]



ENTRE NOUS

Do I love?

Am I loved?

Memories are as rose jars
Some lingeringly sweet,
Others spicy, pungent
Yet all haunting.
I hug them to myself.
I gaze

into the moon's rays
I whirl

wrapping myself,
cuddling in them.
I feel

warm palms caressing,

holding my shoulders.

Dazed enthralled I nestle in fragrance

I do love.

I am loved.



MECHANTE

She scampers off

To the dusty green walled room,

All cobwebs and shadows,

Her little fat fingers clutch

Those red round cherries.

Gleefully, breathlessly

She runs to her little red chair

And her smiling faced joujou doll,

Standing like a gendarme

Beside the old fireplace

Whose hollow is filled

With a big black kettle,

Three funny horns

Sticking out from its roundness.

Holding tight to the arm of her chair

She tries to sit down

But her eyes are big and round with fear

She gazes at her joujou doll,

He is now an ugly, bad looking thing,

So strange and fierce

And his eyes say:

"Where did you get those cherries?"



[12]



IF I COULD

If I could

I would make your eyeballs into buttons

And button your eyelids down.

I would change your spots into chunks of mud

and bat them at you.

I would put two curly-fluffy feathers

into your inquisitive wet nose.

I would change your tail into a cannon

cracker.
If I could

I wouldn't!



[13]



MONKEY SPEAKS

I watch my brother, man,
With philosophic despair
Has he forgot so soon the time
When we were Gods in India?
Alas for the future of my race !
Man has no tail.

Truly all is decadence!



FRUSTRA !

Four pollywogs cavorting in a glass,
Spurring the algae with vibrant tails,
Staring ruby-eyed at nothingness ;
Four embryo frogs, with silent brains,
Basking about a sunbeam in a bowl.

Aeons have passed since I,

While turning hand-springs in a pool

Was caught and gobbled by a duck,

Swallowed entire

Before I reached my froghood.

This time

Shall I complete my froghood, once denied?

Or,-

Must I again be gulped

To serve a Duck-God's idle feast?



[15]



THE SPIDER

Endlessly, tirelessly,

Spinning, twirling,

He makes his web.

His shiny belly

Gleams and quivers;

His bright eyes flash,

Then as if weary

He ravels his spinning

And hangs from his thread

Motionless

A mock suicide.



[16]



TEMPLE WOMEN

At dusk through the sacred gardens,

Come bands of Temple Women

Wearing anklets of gold

And armlets of silver,

They bend and sway in the dance, naked,

Whiter than lilies.

Their voices, shrill flutelike

Summon the worshippers.

With beautiful lips and breasts

They greet the Gods in the Temples:

They are cups of wine,

Vessels that bear its fragrance,

They are the cups of the Gods

Who take them

and drain them

and break them!



[17]



TIME TELLS



Which matters most
eleven ?

twelve ?

one?

The clock strikes
twelve.



[18]



I see motion all about me:

Through the elements of nature

men

animals

inanimate things,
The cause . . . ?
Before I move I think.



[19]



BETWEEN

Stars and electric lights
Both twinkle.
Stars above
Lights below
Sometimes stars,
Sometimes lights,
One only
Which?



[20]



An old shield lies useless and rejected,
The home of dust and spider-webs,

Dull it is, each moment its dullness thickens.



An old woman sits useless and rejected,
The abode of wicked thoughts,

Furrowed she is, each moment the furrows deepen.



I can see

A polished shield
A tilled old woman.

Dust, spider-webs and wicked thoughts are only tenants.
I can polish the shield
The old woman must till herself.



21]



FRUIT
[A Protest]

THE FARMER

It bears no fruit,
Therefore the tree is useless ;
Cut it down.

THE LITTLE BOY

But, Gee, Pa,

It's got grand limbs to climb !

THE LITTLE GIRL

It's dark and cool under the leaves;
I like to play dolls there
When it's hot.

THE WIFE

I've got kinda used to it
Leanin' over the door,
Sorta protectin' like.

THE DAUGHTER

I love the pink of the apple blossoms in the spring,
And the petals falling on the sharp new grass.

THE GRANDFATHER

I like to see the leaves a fallin'

In the autumn, too,

And I like the feel of the old gray bark.

[22]



THE GRANDMOTHER

I love to watch the birds
A nestin' there.
And in the winter
When the limbs are bare
They cast queer shadows
On the snow.

THE STRANGER

All this, and useless?

THE FARMER

The tree is useless
Because it bears no fruit :
Cut it down.



[23]



MURRE OF THE FARALLONES

Murre,

Mother Murre,

Guarding your treasure

Seems but a pleasure !

Yet the rock is grim,

Rough its splintered rim,

Close below the wild seas beat,

Overhead the gray clouds meet;

Here you laid your egg of brown and green

Like the sea beneath and the rock between ;

Proudly you sit with body erect and head held high,

Nature's elements thoughtlessly, carelessly, you defy;

Water, earth and air have been to you things not understood,

Now, with the same nonchalance, you have accepted motherhood.



[24]



THE HUSBAND

When the years are few,

Holding her

As the child

A flower;

Hot, moist fingers

Grasping the stem

Tightly

Close to the blossom.

When the years are many,

Holding her

As the artist

A flower;

Delicate finger tips

Touching the stem

Lightly

Far from the blossom.



[25]



THE JOKE

In the Court of the World
I am the Clown, the Fool.
The Courtiers
Take Life seriously,
All of it but Love
That is the Great Joke.
I, the Fool,

Take Life lightly,

All of it but Love

That is the Great Reality:

Therefore am I

Chief Jester to His Majesty,

Mankind.



[26]



I ask you !

What would they think,

The charlatan verse-cadgers

Of other ages,

If they knew

That the empirics of today

Were writing clumsy prose

In lines of varying length,

Calling it poetry

And selling it

For real money?

Would they be so piqued,

At not having thought of it

Themselves,

That they could not laugh?

I ask you !



[27]



THE BEACH

Splotches of color on a yellow strand,
Like paint flicked upon a great palette,
I am one of the splotches,
I muse, and wonder
Are they ? Am I ?



[28]



"Pass the pipe

Smoke, puff

Puff, smoke

Such is the Indian pipe of peace, dear."

And the child

Questions, questions so wearily,

"How do they know that the puff is of peace?

Do they tell by the smoke

Or the puff?"



[29]



OWN?

I touch the child
Whom I love as my own,
And then as always
I turn and question
The faces of women:
Are you his mother?

Are you ?

Is he your child?
Your own ? Your own !



[30]



STREET CORNER ON BROADWAY

ELEVEN-THIRTY P. M.

A man, and a woman holding a baby, stand wait-
ing for a street car. The woman joggles her baby
until the little head hangs over her arm like a ripe
cherry about to drop off. The baby is fast asleep ; the
mother shifts the child several times and then slings
it under her arm, supporting it on her hip. She stands
in the gutter, one foot on the curb; her long black
skirt hangs on her, dragging its full weight on her
back, and sops up the filth. Her hat is askew the
woman does not heed. Her face kindles with expecta-
tion as each car stops at their corner, when it passes,
her eyes grow blank, only to be rekindled by that ex-
pectant look as the next car approaches. The husband
stands with head bent forward, as tho' asleep. At last
their car swings round the corner the woman's face
brightens. The man rouses and shakes himself, puts
his hand in his pocket, draws it out again, looks at the
palm and carelessly flips a coin : "Huh ! Only got a
nickle ! No use in you takin' that car. Guess I'll buy
a smoke with this. Come on, we'll walk home."



BRONZE BUDDHA

Queer dear

heathen god
you vex me
perplex me

Is it calm or satiate you are?

Did you guess the mystic three ?

Whence, why, where?

They vex me

perplex me

Dear queer

heathen god



[32]




r~ \ r i



MOMENT ENCHANTS

Love,

let \is love

as we may,

Nor bruise our hearts by clinging
To love passed on its way.

You are you

and

I am I,
Our love is

and
Then is not.

In the world old game

Let us play our part,

And give not a thought beyond.

Love,

let us love

as we may,
In the Moment Enchante.



[33]



I race on faster faster,
new faces

places

new pleasures fly past.

I race on faster faster,
steps gain

flight is vain

out distanced at last.



[34]



YOU DON'T LIKE!

You don't like your home ?

Yes, it is humble.
You don't like your neighbors ?

Yes, they are human.
You don't like your life ?

Yes, it is gray.
You focus your thoughts on heaven ?

Yes, but you won't like heaven.

You will still be you.



[35]



AT SIX

Keys go jingling past me

down the halls,
Some are noisy

boasting of big affairs,
Some are tired
But each eagerly anxious

for a world beyond a door.
One key is never ready . . .

When it passes

I am sorry.



[36]



MERCURY

Joy Dances ! Clouds are, rain is,

water stinks in gutters.

Joy Runs ! Houses glare, windows do not smile,

People stare, frown, pass by.

Joy Races! Like mercury over dirt

Joy leaves no trace

on houses, street or faces.



[37]



SUPPER

The cook sits at his table

with his plate of fried potatoes and cornbeef.

The gas burner sheds a greenish light

on his bald head.

The smoked window high in the wall

opens on a stenching alley.

Two flies vainly spin around and around

in a pot of warm soup.

Marie Corelli's "Romance of Two Worlds"

is propped against the catsup bottle.

A waitress bangs the door and bawls :

"Two cornbeef, two pies and a Java !"

The cook vainly flutters the leaves

of Marie Corelli.



[38]



FOG

Fog.

The waves break with a sob,

And are still.
Again with a sob the waves break,

And are still
Again, and again.

Far out

Is the sigh of the whistling buoy.

Choked with fog,

Drowned in the surge

Tossed by the waves,

The buoy is rocking

On dead men's graves.

Broken and hoarse

Is the sigh of the whistling buoy:

Long breath half strangled,

Then a gasp

That is drowned in the surge

Like the moan of dead men

Lost at sea,

Far out in the fog.

Faint
From afar
Comes the cry,

[39]



The wild cry

Of the wandering birds of the sea

Nearer and nearer the cry,

Which way do they fly?

Faint from afar

Comes the cry,

Faint

Faint.

With a sob the waves break,
And are still.
Fog.



[40]



DANCE OF THE SAND-SPRITE

Dance we here by the old sea floor,
Rush of wave and wind's wild roar !
Dance we here on the pounding shore !

Scent of salt spray flying down,
Scent of moss sea-flung and dry,
Scent of surf and air and wind,
Dance we light to the sparkling wave!

White the rocking foam,
White the wind-spent cloud,
White the twisted shell,
Dance we light and lighter still !

Screaming gull, and crashing tide,
Piercing breath of the run-away wind,
Dance we faster, faster yet!

Tipsy cloud and reeling sun,
Swaying sea and drunken wind
Come laugh aloud, and dance with us !
And madly whirl, whirl, whirl!



Drop we here in the warm sand dune,
Sinking sun and peaceful cloud.
Lulled to rest by the long sea hiss,
Lulled by the stare of the big white moon.

Smothered to sleep by the drifting sand .
To . . v
Sleep . . .



[42]



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Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgStuff : an anthology of verse → online text (page 1 of 1)