Harriet Monroe.

The new poetry; an anthology online

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O little bird! there's many have a nest,

A hard-found, open place, with many a foe;

And hunger and despair and little rest,
And more to fear than you can know.

Shield the nests where'er they be,
On the ground or on the tree;
Guard the poor from treachery.



GEORGE STERLING 317



DARK WINGS

Sing while you may, O bird upon the tree!

Although on high, wide-winged above the day,
Chill evening broadens to immensity,

Sing while you may.

On thee, wide-hovering too, intent to slay,

The hawk's slant pinion buoys him terribly
Thus near the end is of thy happy lay.

The day and'thou and miserable me

Dark wings shall cover "up and hide away

Where no song stirs df bird or memory:
Sing while you may.



George Sterling

A LEGEND OF THE DOVE

Soft from the linden's bough,
Unmoved against the tranquil afternoon,

Eve's dove laments her now:
"Ah, gone! long gone! shall not I find thee soon?"

That yearning in his voice
Told not to Paradise a sorrow's tale:

As other birds rejoice
He sang, a brother to the nightingale.

By twilight on her breast
He saw the flower sleep, the star awake;

And calling her from rest,
Made all the dawn melodious for her sake.



318 THE NEW POETRY

And then the Tempter's breath,
The sword of exile and the mortal chain

The heritage of death
That gave her heart to dust, his own to pain. . . .

In Eden desolate
The seraph heard his lonely music swoon,

As now, reiterate;
"Ah, gone! long gone! shall not I find thee soon?"

KINDRED

Musing, between the sunset and the dark,

As Twilight in unhesitating hands

Bore from the faint horizon's underlands,

Silvern and chill, the moon's phantasmal ark,

I heard the sea, and far away could mark

Where that unalterable waste expands

In sevenfold sapphire from the mournful sands,

And saw beyond the deep a vibrant spark.

There sank the sun Arcturus, and I thought:
Star, by an ocean on a world of thine,
May not a being, born like me to die,
Confront a little the eternal Naught
And watch our isolated sun decline
Sad for his evanescence, even as I?

OMNIA EXEUNT IN MYSTERIUM

The stranger in my gates lo! that am I,
And what my land of birth I do not know,
Nor yet the hidden land to which I go.
One may be lord of many ere he die,
And tell of many sorrows in one sigh,
But know himself he shall not, nor his woe,
Nor to what sea the tears of wisdom flow;
Nor why one star is taken from the sky.



GEORGE STERLING 319

An urging is upon him evermore,

And though he bide, his soul is wanderer,

Scanning the shadows with a sense of haste

Where fade the tracks of all who went before:

A dim and solitary traveller

On ways that end in evening and the waste.

THE LAST DAYS

The russet leaves of the sycamore

Lie at last on the valley floor

By the autumn wind swept to and fro

Like ghosts in a tale of long ago.

Shallow and clear the Carmel glides

Where the willows droop on its vine-walled sides.

The bracken-rust is red on the hill;

The pines stand brooding, somber and still;

Gray are the cliffs, and the waters gray,

Where the seagulls dip to the sea-born spray.

Sad November, lady of rain,

Sends the goose-wedge over again.

Wilder now, for the verdure's birth,
Falls the sunlight over the earth;
Kildees call from the fields where now
The banding blackbirds follow the plow;
Rustling poplar and brittle weed
Whisper low to the river-reed.

Days departing linger and sigh:
Stars come soon to the quiet sky;
Buried voices, intimate, strange,
Cry to body and soul of change;
Beauty, eternal fugitive,
Seeks the home that we cannot give.



320 THE NEW POETRY

Wallace Stevens

PETER QUINCE AT THE CLAVIER
I

Just as my fingers on these keys
Make music, so the self-same sounds
On my spirit make a music too.

Music is feeling then, not sound;
And thus it is that what I feel,
Here in this room, desiring you,

Thinking of your blue-shadowed silk,
Is music. It is like the strain
Waked in the elders by Susanna:

Of a green evening, clear and warm,
She bathed in her still garden, while
The red-eyed elders, watching, felt

The basses of their being throb

In witching chords, and their thin blood

Pulse pizzicati of Hosanna.



In the green water, clear and warm,

Susanna lay.

She searched

The touch of springs,

And found

Concealed imaginings.

She sighed

For so much melody.



WALLACE STEVENS 321

Upon the bank she stood

In the cool

Of spent emotions.

She felt, among the leaves,

The dew

Of old devotions.

She walked upon the grass,

Still quavering.

The winds were like her maids,

On timid feet,

Fetching her woven scarves,

Yet wavering.

A breath upon her hand
Muted the night.
She turned
A cymbal crashed,
And roaring horns.

m

Soon, with a noise like tambourines,
Came her attendant Byzantines.

They wondered why Susanna cried
Against the elders by her side:

And as they whispered, the refrain
Was like a willow swept by rain.

Anon, their lamps' uplifted flame
Revealed Susanna and her shame.

And then the simpering Byzantines,
Fled, with a noise like tambourines.



322 THE NEW POETRY

IV

Beauty is momentary in the mind
The fitful tracing of a portal;
But in the flesh it is immortal.

The body dies; the body's beauty lives.
So evenings die, in their green going,
A wave, interminably flowing.
So gardens die, their meek breath scenting
The cowl of Winter, done repenting.
So maidens die, to the auroral
Celebration of a maiden's choral.

Susanna's music touched the bawdy strings

Of those white elders; but, escaping,

Left only Death's ironic scraping.

Now, in its immortality, it plays

On the clear viol of her memory,

And makes a constant sacrament of praise.

IN BATTLE

Death's nobility again
Beautified the simplest men.
Fallen Winkle felt the pride
Of Agamemnon
When he died.

What could London's

Work and waste

Give him

To that salty, sacrificial taste?

What could London's

Sorrow bring

To that short, triumphant sting?



WALLACE STEVENS 323

SUNDAY MORNING



Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug, mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.



She hears, upon that water without sound,

A voice that cries: "The tomb in Palestine

Is not the porch of spirits lingering;

It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay."

We live in an old chaos of the sun,

Or old dependency of day and night,

Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,

Of that wide water, inescapable.

Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail

Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;

Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;

And, in the isolation of the sky,

At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make

Ambiguous undulations as they sink,

Downward to darkness, on extended wings.



324 THE NEW POETRY

in

She says: "I am content when wakened birds,

Before they fly, test the reality

Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;

But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields

Return no more, where, then, is paradise? "

There is not any haunt of prophecy,

Nor any old chimera of the grave,

Neither the golden underground, nor isle

Melodious, where spirits gat them home,

Nor visionary South, nor cloudy palm

Remote on heaven's hill, that has endured

As April's green endures; or will endure

Like her remembrance of awakened birds,

Or her desire for June and evening, tipped

By the consummation of the swallow's wings.



IV

She says, "But in contentment I still feel

The need of some imperishable bliss."

Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,

Alone, shall come fulfilment to our dreams

And our desires. Although she strews the leaves

Of sure obliteration on our paths

The path sick sorrow took, the many paths

Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love

Whispered a little out of tenderness

She makes the willow shiver in the sun

For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze

Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.

She causes boys to bring sweet-smelling pears

And plums in ponderous piles. The maidens taste

And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.



AJAN SYRIAN 325



Supple and turbulent, a ring of men

Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn

Their boisterous devotion to the sun

Not as a god, but as a god might be,

Naked among them, like a savage source.

Their chant shall be a chant of paradise,

Out of their blood, returning to the sky;

And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,

The windy lake wherein their lord delights,

The trees, like seraphim, and echoing hills,"

That choir among themselves long afterward.

They shall know well the heavenly fellowship

Of men that perish and of summer morn

And whence they came and whither they shall go,

The dew upon their feet shall manifest.



Ajan Syrian

THE SYRIAN LOVER IN EXILE REMEMBERS THEE,
LIGHT OF MY LAND

Rose and amber was the sunset on the river,

Red-rose the hills about Bingariz.

High upon their brows, the black tree-branches

Spread wide across the turquoise sky.

I saw the parrots fly

A cloud of rising green from the long green grasses,

A mist of gold and green winging fast

Into the gray shadow-silence of the tamarisks.

Pearl-white and wild was the flood bek>w the ford.

I ran down the long hot road to thy door;



326 THE NEW POETRY

Thy door shone a white flower in the dusk lingering to close.
The stars rose and stood above thy casement.
I cast my cloak and climbed to thee,
To thee, Makhir Subatu!



Naked she stood and glistening like the stars over her

Her hair trailed about her like clouds about the moon

Naked as the soul seeking love,

As the soul that waits for death.

White with benediction, pendulous, unfolding from the dark

As the crystal sky of morning, she waited,

And leaned her light above the earth of my desire.

Like a world that spins from the hand of Infinity,

Up from the night I leaped

To thee, Makhir Subatu!



Pearl-bright and wild, a flood without a ford,

The River of Love flowed on.

Her eyes were gleaming sails in a storm,

Dipping, swooning, beckoning.

The dawn came and trampled over her;

Gray-arched and wide, the sanctuary of light descended.

It was the altar where I lay;

And I lifted my face at last, praying.

I saw the first glow fall about her,

Like marble pillars coming forth from the shadow.

I raised my hands, thanking the gods

That in love I had grown so tall

I could touch the two lamps in heaven,

The sun and moon hanging in the low heaven beneath her

face.

How great through love had I grown
To breathe my flame into the two lamps of heaven!



RABINDRANATH TAGORE 327

eyes of the eagle and the dove,
Eyes red-starred and white-starred,

Eyes that have too much seen, too much confessed,

Close, close, beneath my kisses!

Tell me no more, demand me no- more it is day.

1 see the gold-green rain of parrot-wings
Sparkling athwart the gray and rose-gold morning.
I go from thy closed door down the long lone road
To the ricefields beyond the river,

Beyond the river that has a ford.

I came to thee with hope, with desire. I have them no longer.
Sleep, sleep; I am locked in thee.

Thus the exile lover remembers thee, Makhir Subatu!



Rabindranath Tagore
FROM "GITANJALI"



Thou hast made me known to friends whom I knew not. Thou
hast given me seats in homes not my own. Thou hast brought
the distant near and made a brother of the stranger. I am
uneasy at heart when I have to leave my accustomed shelter;
I forgot that there abides the old in the new, and that there
also thou abidest.

Through birth and death, in this world or in others, wherever
thou leadest me it is thou, the same, the one companion of
my endless life who ever linkest my heart with bonds of joy
to the unfamiliar. When one knows thee, then alien there is
none, then no door is shut. Oh, grant me my prayer that I
may never lose the bliss of the touch of the One in the play
of the many.



328 THE NEW POETRY



No more noisy, loud words from me, such is my master's will.

Henceforth I deal in whispers. The speech of my heart will

be carried on in murmurings of a song.
Men hasten to the King's market. All the buyers and sellers are

there. But I have my untimely leave in the middle of the

day, in the thick of work.
Let then the flowers come out in my garden, though it is not

their time, and let the midday bees strike up their lazy hum.
Full many an hour have I spent in the strife of the good and the

evil, but now it is the pleasure of my playmate of the empty

days to draw my heart on to him, and I know not why is this

sudden call to what useless inconsequence!

m

On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying,

and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower

remained unheeded.
Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from

my dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange smell in the

south wind.
That vague fragrance made my heart ache with longing, and it

seemed to me that it was the eager breath of the summer

seeking for its completion.
I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and this

perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.

IV

By all means they try to hold me secure who love me hi this world.
But it is otherwise with thy love, which is greater than theirs,
and thou keepest me free. Lest I forget them they never
venture to leave me alone. But day passes by after day and
thou art not seen.

If I call not thee in my prayers, if I keep not thee in my heart
thy love for me still waits for my love.



RABINDRANATH TAGORE 329



I was not aware of the moment when I first crossed the threshold
of this life. What was the power that made me open out
into this vast mystery like a bud in the forest at midnight?
When in the morning I looked upon the light I felt in a mo-
ment that I was no stranger in this world, that the inscrutable
without name and form had taken me in its arms in the form
of my own mother. Even so, in death the same unknown will
appear as ever known to me. And because I love this life,
I know I shall love death as well. The child cries out when
from the right breast the mother takes it away to find in the
very next moment its consolation in the left one.

VI

Thou art the sky and thou art the nest as well. Oh, thou beauti-
ful, there in the nest it is thy love that encloses the soul with
colors and sounds and odors. There comes the morning
with the golden basket in her right hand bearing the wreath
of beauty, silently to crown the earth. And there comes the
evening over the lonely meadows deserted by herds, through
trackless paths, carrying cool draughts of peace in her golden
pitcher from the western ocean of rest.

But there, where spreads the infinite sky for the soul to take her
flight in, reigns the stainless white radiance. There is no
day nor night, nor form nor color, and never never a word.

FROM "THE GARDENER"



Over the green and yellow rice fields sweep the shadows of the
autumn clouds, followed by the swift-chasing sun.

The bees forget to sip their honey; drunken with the light they
foolishly hum and hover; and the ducks in the sandy river-
bank clamor in joy for mere nothing.



330 THE NEW POETRY

None shall go back home, brothers, this morning, none shall go to

work.
We will take the blue sky by storm and plunder the space as we

run.

Laughters fly floating in the air like foams in the flood.
Brothers, we shall squander our morning in futile songs.



Keep me fully glad with nothing. Only take my hand in your
hand.

In the gloom of the deepening night take up my heart and play
with it as you list. Bind me close to you with nothing.

I will spread myself out at your feet and lie still. Under this
clouded sky I will meet silence with silence. I will become
one with the night clasping the earth in my breast.

Make my life glad with nothing.

The ra,ins sweep the sky from end to end. Jasmines in the wet
untamable wind revel in their own perfume. The cloud-
hidden stars thrill in secret. Let me fill to the full of my heart
with nothing but my own depth of joy.

m

My soul is alight with your infinitude of stars. Your world has
broken upon me like a flood. The flowers of your garden
blossom in my body. The joy of life that is everywhere burns
like an incense in my heart. And the breath of all things
plays on my life as on a pipe of reeds.

IV

Leave off your works, bride. Listen, the guest has come.

Do you hear, he is gently shaking the fastening chain of the door?

Let not your anklets be loud, and your steps be too hurried to

meet him.
Leave off your works, bride; the guest has come, in the evening.



RABINDRAN ATH TAGORE 33 1

No, it is not the wind, bride. Do not be frightened.

It is the full-moon night of April, shadows are pale in the court-
yard, the sky overhead is bright.

Draw your veil over your face if you must, take the lamp from
your room if you fear.

No, it is not the wind, bride; do not be frightened.

Have no word with him if you are shy, stand aside by the door

when you meet him.

If he asks you questions, lower your eyes in silence, if you wish.
Do not let your bracelets jingle, when, lamp in hand, you lead

him in.
Have no word with him if you are shy.

Have you not finished your works yet, bride? Listen, the guest

has come.

Have you not lit the lamp in the cowshed?

Have you not got ready the offering basket for the evening service?
Have you not put the auspicious red mark at the parting of your

hair, and done your toilet for the night?
O bride, do you hear, the guest has come?
Have you not finished your works yet?



Come as you are, tarry not over your toilet.

If your braiding has come loose, if the parting of your hair be not

straight, if the ribbons of your bodice be not fastened, do not

mind.
Come as you are, tarry not over your toilet.

Come with quick steps over the grass.

If your feet are pale with the dew, if your anklets slacken, if

pearls drop out of your chain, do not mind.
Come with quick steps over the grass.



332 THE NEW POETRY

Do you see the clouds wrapping the sky?

Flocks of cranes fly up from the further riverbank and fitful gusts

of wind rush over the heath.

The anxious cattle run to their stalls in the village.
Do you see the clouds wrapping the sky?

In vain you light your toilet lamp; it flickers and goes out in the

wind.
Surely, who would know that with lamp-black your eyelids are

not touched? For your eyes are darker than rain clouds.
In vain you light your toilet lamp; it goes out.

Come as you are, tarry not over your toilet.

If the wreath is not woven, who cares? If the wrist-chain has

not been tied, leave it by.
The sky is overcast with clouds; it is late.
Come as you are, tarry not over your toilet.



VI

Lest I should know you too easily, you play with me.
You blind me with flashes of laughter to hide your tears.
I know, I know your art;
You never say the word you would.

Lest I should prize you not, you elude me in a thousand ways.
Lest I should mix you with the crowd, you stand aside.
I know, I know your art;
You never walk the path you would.

Your claim is more than others; that is why you are silent.

With a playful carelessness you avoid my gifts.

I know, I know your art;

You never accept what you would.



RABINDRANATH TAGORE 333

vn

Amidst the rush and roar of life, O beauty, carved in stone, you

stand mute and still, alone and aloof.

Great Time sits enamoured at your feet and repeats to you:
"Speak, speak to me, my love; speak, my mute bride!"
But your speech is shut up in stone, O you immovably fair!

vm

Tell me if this is all true, my lover?

tell me if it is true.
When the eyes of me flash their lightning on you,

dark clouds in your breast make stormy answer;
Is it then true

that the dew drops fall from the night when I am seen,

and the morning light is glad when it wraps my body?

Is it true, is it true, that your love

travelled alone through ages and worlds in search of me?
that when you found me at last, your age-long desire
found utter peace in my gentle speech, and my eyes and lips
and flowing hair?

Is it then true

that the mystery of the Infinite is written on this little brow

of mine?
Tell me, my lover, if all this is true!

EX

With a glance of your eyes you could plunder all the wealth of

songs struck from poets' harps, fair woman!
But for their praises you have no ear; therefore do I come to praise

you.

You could humble at your feet the proudest heads of all the world;
But it is your loved ones, unknown to fame, whom you choose

to worship; therefore I worship you.



334 THE NEW POETRY

Your perfect arms would add glory to kingly splendor with their

touch;
But you use them to sweep away the dust, and to make clean

your humble home; therefore I am filled with awe.



Sara Teasdale

LEAVES

One by one, like leaves from a tree,
All my faiths have forsaken me;
But the stars above my head
Burn in white and delicate red,
And beneath my feet the earth
Brings the sturdy grass to birth.
I who was content to be
But a silken-singing tree,
But a rustle of delight
In the wistful heart of night,
I have lost the leaves that knew
Touch of rain and weight of dew.
Blinded by a leafy crown
I looked neither up nor down
But the little leaves that die
Have left me room to see the sky;
Now for the first time I know
Stars above and earth below.

MORNING

I went out on an April morning
All alone, for my heart was high.

I was a child of the shining meadow,
I was a sister of the sky.



SARA TEASDALE 335



There in the windy flood of morning
Longing lifted its weight from me,

Lost as a sob in the midst of cheering,
Swept as a sea-bird out to sea.



THE FLIGHT

Look back with longing eyes and know that I will follow,
Lift me up in your love as a light wing lifts a swallow,
Let our flight be far in sun or windy rain
Bid what if I heard my first love calling me again?

Hold me on your heart as the brave sea holds the foam,
Take me far away to the hills that hide your home;
Peace shall thatch the roof and love shall latch the door
But what if I heard my first love calling me once more?



OVER THE ROOFS

I said, "I have shut my heart,
As one shuts an open door,

That Love may starve therein
And trouble me no more."

But over the roofs there came
The wet new wind of May,

And a tune blew up from the curb
Where the street-pianos play.

My room was white with the sun
And Love cried out in me,

"I am strong, I will break your heart
Unless you set me free."



336 THE NEW POETRY



DEBT

What do I owe to you

Who loved me deep and long?

You never gave my spirits wings
Nor gave my heart a song.

But oh, to him I loved,

Who loved me not at all,
I owe the little gate

That led through heaven's wall.

SONGS IN A HOSPITAL

THE BROKEN FIELD

My soul is a dark ploughed field

In the cold rain;
My soul is a broken field

Ploughed by pain.

Where windy grass and flowers

Were growing,
The field lies broken now

For another sowing.

Great Sower, when you tread

My field again,
Scatter the furrows there

With better grain.

OPEN WINDOWS

Out of the window a sea of green trees

Lift their soft boughs like arms of a dancer;

They beckon and call me, "Come out in the sun! "
But I cannot answer.



SARA TEASDALE 337

I am alone with Weakness and Pain,

Sick abed and June is going,
I cannot keep her, she hurries by

With the silver-green of her garments blowing.

Men and women pass in the street

Glad of the shining sapphire weather;
But we know more of it than they,

Pain and I together.

They are the runners in the sun,

Breathless and blinded by the race,
But we are watchers in the shade

Who speak with Wonder face to face.



AFTER DEATH

Now while my lips are living
Their words must stay unsaid,

And will my soul remember
To speak when I am dead?

Yet if my soul remembered
You would not heed it, dear,

For now you must not listen,
And then you could not hear.



IN MEMORIAM F. O. S.

You go a long and lovely journey,
For all the stars, like burning dew,

Are luminous and luring footprints
Of souls adventurous as you.


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