Harriet Monroe.

The new poetry; an anthology online

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To share her harvest supper. I arose,
And stepped without to pay my greetings. When,

Behold!

The old world flowered again, as it had done
When I was twenty, at the gate of life;
The meadows held untouched their virgin bloom,
The darkling trees with gleaming leaves flashed bright,



360 THE NEW POETRY

Dewy and pendant till the waiting morn;

The shadows lay like cool soft soothing hands

Upon the pastures pulsing with sweet June:

I, too, was young again, and God was just,

And through my blood propelled great future acts

Big things to do, and thoughts, and voice to speak

So potent was the charm of my white queen.

It was not till I walked for many miles,

And came back weary to my quiet room,

That I had once more taken back my years,

My cares, my listlessness, and stagnant grief.

And, even as I sit in full faced day,

My memory faintly shadows out this song.

I SAW THE CLOUDS

I saw the clouds among the hills
Trailing their plumes of rainy gray.

The purple of the woods behind
Fell down to where the valley lay

In sweet satiety of rain,

With ripened fruit, and full filled grain.

I saw the graves, upon the plain,
Of pioneers, who took the land,

And tamed the stubborn elements
Till they were gentle to the hand.

Their children, now in fortune's ways,

Dwell in their father's palaces.

I saw some old forgotten lays;

And treasured volumes I passed by.
They were but repetitions cheap

For any hucksterer to buy.
The clouds, the graves, the worn old song,
I bear them in my heart along.



MARGARET WIDDEMER 361



Margaret Widdemer

THE BEGGARS

The little pitiful, worn, laughing faces,
Begging of Life for Joy!

I saw the little daughters of the poor,

Tense from the long day's working, strident, gay,

Hurrying to the picture-place. There curled

A hideous flushed beggar at the door,

Trading upon his horror, eyeless, maimed,

Complacent in his profitable mask.

They mocked his horror, but they gave to him

From the brief wealth of pay-night, and went in

To the cheap laughter and the tawdry thoughts

Thrown on the screen; in to the seeking hand

Covered by darkness, to the luring voice

Of Horror, boy-masked, whispering of rings,

Of silks, of feathers, bought so cheap! with just

Their slender starved child-bodies, palpitant

For beauty, laughter, passion that is life:

(A frock of satin for an hour's shame,

A coat of fur for two days' servitude;

"And the clothes last," the thought runs on, within

The poor warped girl-minds drugged with changeless days;

"Who cares or knows after the hour is done?")

Poor little beggars at Life's door for Joy!

The old man crouched there, eyeless, horrible,

Complacent in the marketable mask

That earned his comforts and they gave to him!

But ah, the little painted, wistful faces
Questioning Life for Joy!



362 THE NEW POETRY



TERESINA'S FACE

He saw it last of all before they herded in the steerage,
Dark against the sunset where he lingered by the hold,

The tear-stained dusk-rose face of her, the little Teresina,
Sailing out to lands of gold:

Ah, the days were long, long days, still toiling in the vineyard,
Working for the coins that set him free to go to her,

Where gay it glowed, the flower face of little Teresina,
Where the joy and riches were:

Hard to find one rose-face where the dark rose-faces cluster,
Where the outland laws are strange and outland voices hum,

(Only one lad's hoping, and the word of Teresina,
Who would wait for him to come!)



God grant he may not find her, since he might not win her freedom,

Nor yet be great enough to love, in such marred, captive wise,
The patient, painted face of her, the little Teresina,
With its cowed, all-knowing eyes!



GREEK FOLK SONG

Under dusky laurel leaf,

Scarlet leaf of rose,
I lie prone, who have known

All a woman knows.

Love and grief and motherhood,
Fame and mirth and scorn

These are all shall befall
Any woman born.



FLORENCE WILKINSON 363

Jewel-laden are my hands,

Tall my stone above
Do not weep that I sleep,

Who was wise in love.



Where I walk, a shadow gray
Through gray asphodel,

I am glad, who have had
All that life can tell.



Florence Wilkinson

OUR LADY OF IDLENESS

They in the darkness gather and ask

Her name, the mistress of their endless task.



The Toilers

Tinsel-makers in factory gloom,

Miners in ethylene pits,

Divers and druggists mixing poisonous bloom;

Huge hunters, men of brawn,

Half-naked creatures of the tropics,

Furred trappers stealing forth at Labrador dawn;

Catchers of beetles, sheep-men in bleak sheds,
Pearl-fishers perched on Indian coasts,
Children in stifling towers pulling threads;

Dark bunchy women pricking intricate laces,

Myopic jewelers' apprentices,

Arabs who chase the long-legged birds in sandy places:



364 THE NEW POETRY

They are her invisible slaves,

The genii of her costly wishes,

Climbing, descending, running under waves.

They strip earth's dimmest cell,
They burn and drown and stifle
To build her inconceivable and fragile shell.



The Artist-Artisans

They have painted a miracle-shawl
Of cobwebs and whispering shadows,
And trellised leaves that ripple on a wall.

They have broidered a tissue of cost,

Spun foam of the sea

And lilied imagery of the vanishing frost.

Her floating skirts have run

Like iridescent marshes,

Or like the tossed hair of a stormy sun.

Her silver cloak has shone
Blue as a mummy's beads,
Green as the ice-glints of an Arctic zone.



She is weary and has lain

At last her body down.

What, with her clothing's beauty, they have slain!

The Angel With the Sword
Come, brothers, let us lift
Her pitiful body on high,
Her tight-shut hands that take to heaven no gift



FLORENCE WILKINSON 365

But ashes of costly things.

We seven archangels will

Bear her in silence on our flame-tipped wings.



The Toilers

Lo, she is thinner than fire

On a burned mill-town's edge,

And smaller than a young child's dead desire.

Yea, emptier than the wage

Of a spent harlot crying for her beauty,

And grayer than the mumbling lips of age.

A Lost Girl

White as a drowned one's feet

Twined with the wet sea-bracken,

And naked as a Sin driven from God's littlest street.



STUDENTS

John Brown and Jeanne at Fontainebleau
'Twas Toussaint, just a year ago;
Crimson and copper was the glow
Of all the woods at Fontainebleau.
They peered into that ancient well,
And watched the slow torch as it fell.
John gave the keeper two whole sous,
And Jeanne that smile with which she woos
John Brown to folly. So they lose
The Paris train. But never mind!
All-Saints are rustling in the wind,
And there's an inn, a crackling fire
(It's deux-cinquante, but Jeanne's desire);
There's dinner, candles, country wine,
Jeanne's lips philosophy divine!



366 THE NEW POETRY

There was a bosquet at Saint Cloud
Wherein John's picture of her grew
To be a Salon masterpiece
Till the rain fell that would not cease.
Through one long alley how they raced!
'Twas gold and brown, and all a waste
Of matted leaves, moss-interlaced.
Shades of mad queens and hunter-kings
And thorn-sharp feet of dryad-things
Were company to their wanderings;
Then rain and darkness on them drew.
The rich folks' motors honked and flew.
They hailed an old cab, heaven for two;
The bright Champs-Elysees at last-
Though the cab crawled it sped too fast.

Paris, upspringing white and gold:
Flamboyant arch and high-enscrolled
War-sculpture, big, Napoleonic
Fierce chargers, angels histrionic;
The royal sweep of gardened spaces,
The pomp and whirl of columned Places;
The Rive Gauche, age-old, gay and gray;
The impasse and the loved cafe;
The tempting tidy little shops;
The convent walls, the glimpsed tree-tops;
Book-stalls, old men like dwarfs in plays;
Talk, work, and Latin Quarter ways.

May Robinson's, the chestnut trees
Were ever crowds as gay as these?
The quick pale waiters on a run,
The round green tables, one by one,
Hidden away in amorous bowers
Lilac, laburnum's golden showers.
Kiss, clink of glasses, laughter heard,



MARGUERITE WILKINSON 367

And nightingales quite undeterred.

And then that last extravagance

O Jeanne, a single amber glance

Will pay him! "Let's play millionaire

For just two hours on princely fare,

At some hotel where lovers dine

2i deux and pledge across the wine!"

They find a damask breakfast-room,

Where stiff silk roses range their bloom.

The garfon has a splendid way

Of bearing in grand dejeuner.

Then to be left alone, alone,

High up above Rue Castiglione;

Curtained away from all the rude

Rumors, in silken solitude;

And, John, her head upon your knees

Time waits for moments such as these.



Marguerite Wilkinson

A WOMAN'S BELOVED

A Psalm

To what shall a woman liken her beloved,

And with what shall she compare him to do him honor?

He is like the close-folded new leaves of the woodbine, odorless,

but sweet,

Flushed with a new and swiftly rising life,
Strong to grow and give glad shade in summer.
Even thus should a woman's beloved shelter her in time of anguish.

And he is like the young robin, eager to try his wings,
For within soft-stirring wings of the spirit has she cherished him,
And with the love of the mother bird shall she embolden him, that
his flight may avail.



368 THE NEW POETRY

A woman's beloved is to her as the roots of the willow,
Long, strong, white roots, bedded lovingly in the dark.
Into the depths of her have gone the roots of his strength and of

his pride,

That she may nourish him well and become his fulfilment.
None may tear him from the broad fields where he is planted!

A woman's beloved is like the sun rising upon the waters, making

the dark places light,

And like the morning melody of the pine trees.
Truly, she thinks the roses die joyously
If they are crushed beneath his feet.

A woman's beloved is to her a great void that she may illumine,
A great king that she may crown, a great soul that she may redeem.
And he is also the perfecting of life,
Flowers for the altar, bread for the lips, wine for the chalice.

You that have known passion, think not that you have fathomed

love.

It may be that you have never seen love's face.
For love thrusts aside storm-clouds of passion to unveil the

heavens,
And, in the heart of a woman, only then is love born.

To what shall I liken a woman's beloved,
And with what shall I compare him to do him honor?
He is a flower, a song, a struggle, a wild storm,
And, at the last, he is redemption, power, joy, fulfilment and
perfect peace.



AN INCANTATION

O great sun of heaven, harm not my love;

Sear him not with your flame, blind him not with your beauty,

Shine for his pleasure!



WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS 369

O gray rains of heaven, harm not my love;
Drown not in your torrent the song of his heart,
Lave and caress him.

O swift winds of heaven, harm not my love;
Bruise not nor buffet him with your rough humor,
Sing you his prowess!

O mighty triad, strong ones of heaven,

Sun, rain, and wind, be gentle, I charge you

For your mad mood of wrath have me I am ready

But spare him, my lover, most proud and most dear,

O sun, rain and wind, strong ones of heaven!



William Carlos Williams

SICILIAN EMIGRANT'S SONG
In New York Harbor

O - eh lee! La la!

Donna! Donna!
Blue is the sky of Palermo;
Blue is the little bay;

And dost thou remember the orange and fig,
The lively sun and the sea breeze at evening?

Hey la!
Donna! Donna! Maria!

O eh li! La la!
Donna! Donna!
Gray is the sky of this land.
Gray and green is the water.



370 THE NEW POETRY

I see no trees, dost thou? The wind

Is cold for the big woman there with the candle.

Hey la!
Donna! Donna! Maria!

O eh li! O la!

Donna! Donna!
I sang thee by the blue waters;
I sing thee here in the gray dawning.
Kiss, for I put down my guitar;
I'll sing thee more songs after the landing.

O Jesu, I love thee!
Donna! Donna! Maria!



PEACE ON EARTH

The Archer is wake!

The Swan is flying!

Gold against blue

An Arrow is lying.

There is hunting in heaven

Sleep safe till tomorrow.

The Bears are abroad!

The Eagle is screaming!

Gold against blue

Their eyes are gleaming!

Sleep!

Sleep safe till tomorrow.

The Sisters lie

With their arms mtertwining;

Gold against blue

Their hair is shining!

The Serpent writhes!

Orion is listening!



WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS 371

Gold against blue

His sword is glistening!

Sleep!

There is hunting in heaven

Sleep safe till tomorrow.

THE SHADOW

Soft as the bed in the earth

Where a stone has lain

So soft, so smooth and so cool,

Spring closes me in

With her arms and her hands.

Rich as the smell
Of new earth on a stone,
That has lain, breathing
The damp through its pores-
Spring closes me in
With her blossomy hair;
Brings dark to my eyes.

METRIC FIGURE

There is a bird in the poplars

It is the sun!

The leaves are little yellow fish

Swimming in the river;

The bird skims above them

Day is on his wings.

Phoenix!

It is he that is making

The great gleam among the poplars.

It is his singing

Outshines the noise

Of leaves clashing in the wind.



372 THE NEW POETRY



SUB TERRA

Where shall I find you
You, my grotesque fellows
That I seek everywhere
To make up my band?
None, not one

With the earthy tastes I require:
The burrowing pride that rises
Subtly as on a bush in May.

Where are you this day

You, my seven-year locusts

With cased wings?

Ah, my beauties, how I long!

That harvest

That shall be your advent

Thrusting up through the grass,

Up under the weeds,

Answering me

That shall be satisfying!

The light shall leap and snap

That day as with a million lashes!

Oh, I have you!

Yes, you are about me in a sense,

Playing under the blue pools

That are my windows.

But they shut you out still

There in the half light

For the simple truth is

That though I see you clear enough

You are not there.

It is not that it is you,
You I want, my companions!



WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS 373

God ! if I could only fathom

The guts of shadows!

You to come with me

Poking into negro houses

With their gloom and smell!

In among children

Leaping around a dead dog!

Mimicking

Onto the lawns of the rich!

You!

To go with me a-tip-toe

Head down under heaven,

Nostrils lipping the wind!

SLOW MOVEMENT

All those treasures that lie in the little bolted box whose tiny
space is

Mightier than the room of the stars, being secret and filled with
dreams:

All those treasures I hold them in my hand are straining con-
tinually

Against the sides and the lid and the two ends of the little box in
which I guard them;

Crying that there is no sun come among them this great while
and that they weary of shining;

Calling me to fold back the lid of the little box and to give them
sleep finally.

But the night I am hiding from them, dear friend, is far more

desperate than their night!
And so I take pity on them and pretend to have lost the key to

the little house of my treasures;
For they would die of weariness were I to open it, and not be

merely faint and sleepy
As they are now.



374 THE NEW POETRY



POSTLUDE

Now that I have cooled to you

Let there be gold of tarnished masonry,

Temples soothed by the sun to ruin

That sleep utterly.

Give me hand for the dances,

Ripples at Philae, in and out,

And lips, my Lesbian,

Wall flowers that once were flame.

Your hair is my Carthage
And my arms the bow,
And our words arrows
To shoot the stars
Who from that misty sea
Swarm to destroy us.

But you there beside me
Oh, how shall I defy you,
Who wound me in the night
With breasts shining
Like Venus and like Mars?
The night that is shouting Jason
When the loud eaves rattle
As with waves above me
Blue at the prow of my desire.






CHARLES ERSKINE SCOTT WOOD 375

Charles Erskine Scott Wood

THE POET IN THE DESERT

Extracts from the Prologue

I have come into the Desert because my soul is athirst as the

Desert is athirst;

My soul which is the soul of all; universal, not different.
We are athirst for the waters which make beautiful the path
And entice the grass, the willows and poplars,
So that in the heat of the day we may lie in a cool shadow,
Soothed as by the hands of quiet women, listening to the discourse

of running waters as the voices of women, exchanging the

confidences of love.

The mountains afar girdle the Desert as a zone of amethyst;

Pale, translucent walls of opal,

Girdling the Desert as Life is girt by Eternity.

They lift their heads high above our tribulation

Into the azure vault of Time;

Theirs are the airy castles which are set upon foundations of

sapphire.

My soul goes out to them as the bird to her secret nest.
They are the abode of peace.

The flowers bloom hi the Desert joyously

They do not weary themselves with questioning;

They are careless whether they be seen, or praised.

They blossom unto life perfectly and unto death perfectly, leaving

nothing unsaid.

They spread a voluptuous carpet for the feet of the Wind
And to the frolic Breezes which overleap them, they whisper:
"Stay a moment, Brother; plunder us of our passion;
Our day is short, but our beauty is eternal."



376 THE NEW POETRY

Never have I found a place, or a season, without beauty.

Neither the sea, where the white stallions champ their bits and
rear against their bridles,

Nor the Desert, bride of the Sun, which sits scornful, apart,

Like an unwooed princess, careless, indifferent.

She spreads her garments, wonderful beyond estimation,

And embroiders continually her mantle.

She is a queen, seated on a throne of gold

In the Hall of Silence.

She insists upon humility.

She insists upon meditation.

She insists that the soul be free.

She requires an answer.

She demands the final reply to thoughts which cannot be answered.

She lights the sun for a torch

And sets up the great cliffs as sentinels:

The morning and the evening are curtains before her chambers.

She displays the stars as her coronet.

She is cruel and invites victims,

Restlessly moving her wrists and ankles,

Which are loaded with sapphires.

Her brown breasts flash with opals.

She slays those who fear her,

But runs her hand lovingly over the brow of those who know her,

Soothing with a voluptuous caress.

She is a courtesan, wearing jewels,

Enticing, smiling a bold smile;

Adjusting her brilliant raiment negligently,

Lying brooding upon her floor which is richly carpeted;

Her brown thighs beautiful and naked.

She toys with the dazzelry of her diadems,

Smiling inscrutably.

She is a nun, withdrawing behind her veil;

Gray, subdued, silent, mysterious, meditative; unapproachable.

She is fair as a goddess sitting beneath a flowering peach-tree, be-
side a clear river.



EDITH WYATT 377

Her body is tawny with the eagerness of the Sun

And her eyes are like pools which shine in deep canons.

She is beautiful as a swart woman, with opals at her throat,

Rubies on her wrists and topaz about her ankles.

Her breasts are like the evening and the day stars;

She sits upon her throne of light, proud and silent, indifferent to

her wooers.
The Sun is her servitor, the Stars are her attendants, running

before her.

She sings a song unto her own ears, solitary, but it is sufficient
It is the song of her being. Oh, if I may sing the song of my being

it will be sufficient.

She is like a jeweled dancer, dancing upon a pavement of gold;
Dazzling, so that the eyes must be shaded.
She wears the stars upon her bosom and braids her hair with the

constellations.

I know the Desert is beautiful, for I have lain in her arms and she

has kissed me.

I have come to her, that I may know freedom;
That I may lie upon the breast of the Mother and breathe the air

of primal conditions.

I have come out from the haunts of men;
From the struggle of wolves upon a carcass,
To be melted in Creation's crucible and be made clean;
To know that the law of Nature is freedom.



Edith Wyatt

ON THE GREAT PLATEAU

In the Santa Clara Valley, far away and far away,
Cool-breathed waters dip and dally, linger towards another day-
Far and far away far away.



378 THE NEW POETRY

Slow their floating step, but tireless, terraced down the great

Plateau.

Towards our ways of steam and wireless, silver-paced the brook-
beds go.

Past the ladder-walled Pueblos, past the orchards, pear and quince,
Where the back-locked river's ebb flows, miles and miles the valley

glints,
Shining backwards, singing downwards, towards horizons blue

and bay.

All the roofs the roads ensconce so dream of visions far away
Santa Cruz and Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Santa Fe.
Ancient, sacred fears and faiths, ancient, sacred faiths and fears
Some were real, some were wraiths Indian, Franciscan years,
Built the Khivas, swung the bells; while the wind sang plain and

free,

"Turn your eyes from visioned hells! look as far as you can see! "
In the Santa Clara Valley, far away and far away,
Dying dreams divide and dally, crystal-terraced waters sally
Linger towards another day, far and far away far away.

As you follow where you find them, up along the high Plateau,
In the hollows left behind them Spanish chapels fade below
Shaded court and low corrals. In the vale the goat-herd browses.
Hollyhocks are seneschals by the little buff-walled houses.
Over grassy swale and alley have you ever seen it so
Up the Santa Clara Valley, riding on the Great Plateau?
Past the ladder- walled Pueblos, past the orchards, pear and quince,
Where the trenched waters' ebb flows, miles and miles the valley

glints,
Shining backwards, singing downwards towards horizons blue and

bay.

All the haunts the bluffs ensconce so breathe of visions far away,
As you ride near Ildefonso back again to Santa Fe.
Pecos, mellow with the years, tall-walled Taos who can know
Half the storied faiths and fears haunting green New Mexico?
Only from her open places down arroyos blue and bay,



EDITH WYATT 379

One wild grace of many graces dallies towards another day.
Where her yellow tufa crumbles, something stars and grasses know,
Something true, that crowns and humbles, shimmers from the

Great Plateau:

Blows where cool-paced waters dally from the stillness of Puye,
Down the Santa Clara Valley through the world from far away
Far and far away far away.

SUMMER HAIL

Once the heavens' gabled door

Opened: down a stabled floor,

Down the thunders, something galloped far and wide,

Glancing far and fleet

Down the silver street

And I knew of nothing, nothing else beside.
Pitty patty poll-
Shoe the wild colt!
Here a nail! There a nail!
Pitty patty poll!

Good and badness, die away.

Strength and swiftness down the day,

Dapple happy down my glancing silver street!

Oh, the touch of summer cold!

Beauty swinging quick and bold,

Dipping, dappling where the distant roof-tops meet!
Pitty patty poll-
Shoe the wild coltl

Listen, dusty care:

Through a magic air,

Once I watched the way of perfect splendor ride,

Swishing far and gray,

Buoyant and gay

And I knew of nothing, nothing else beside.



380 THE NEW POETRY

Good and badness, go your ways,

Vanish far and fleet.

Strength and swiftness run my days,

Down my silver street.

Little care, forevermore

Be you lesser than before.

Mighty frozen rain,

Come! oh, come again!

Let the heavens' door be rended

With the touch of summer cold

Dappling hoof -beats clatter splendid,

Infinitely gay and bold!

Pitty patty poll-
Shoe the wild colt!
Here a nail and there a nail!
Pitty patty polt!

Once the heavens' gabled door

Opened: down the stabled floor,

Down the thunders something galloped wide and far;

Something dappled far and fleet,

Glancing down my silver street,

And I saw the ways of life just as they are.

Pitty patty polt

Shoe the wild colt!

Here a nail! There a nail!

Pitty patty polt!



TO F. W.

You are my companion
Down the silver road,
Still and many-changing,
Infinitely changing.
You are my companion.



EDITH WYATT 381

Something sings in lives
Days of walking on and on,
Deep beyond all singing,
Wonderful past singing.

Wonderful our road,
Long and many-changing,
Infinitely changing.
This, more wonderful
We are here together,
You and I together,
I am your companion;
You are my companion,
My own, true companion.

Let the road-side fade:
Morning on the mountain-top,
Hours along the valley,
Days of walking on and on,
Pulse away in silence,
In eternal silence.
Let the world all fade,
Break and pass away.
Yet will this remain,


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