Harriet Monroe.

The new poetry; an anthology online

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And peony-budded breasts,
And the flower of the curve of your hand

Where my hand rests.



138 THE NEW POETRY



SINCE I HAVE FELT THE SENSE OF DEATH

Since I have felt the sense of death,
Since I have borne its dread, its fear
Oh, how my life has grown more dear

Since I have felt the sense of death!

Sorrows are good, and cares are small,

Since I have known the loss of all.

Since I have felt the sense of death,
And death forever at my side
Oh, how the world has opened wide

Since I have felt the sense of death!

My hours are jewels that I spend,

For I have seen the hours end.

Since I have felt the sense of death,

Since I have looked on that black night
My inmost brain is fierce with light

Since I have felt the sense of death.

O dark, that made my eyes to see!

O death, that gave my life to me!



Ford Madox Hueffer

ANTWERP

I

Gloom!

An October like November;

August a hundred thousand hours,

And all September,

A hundred thousand, dragging sunlit days,



FORD MADOX HUEFFER 139

And half October like a thousand years . . .

And doom!

That then was Antwerp . . .

In the name of God,
How could they do it?
Those souls that usually dived
Into the dirty caverns of mines;
Who usually hived

In whitened hovels; under ragged poplars;
Who dragged muddy shovels, over the grassy mud,
Lumbering to work over the greasy sods . . .
Those men there, with the appearance of clods
Were the bravest men that a usually listless priest of God
Ever shrived . . .

And it is not for us to make them an anthem.
If we found words there would come no wind that would fan them
To a tune that the trumpets might blow it,
Shrill through the heaven that's ours or yet Allah's,
Or the wide halls of any Valhallas.
We can make no such anthem. So that all that is ours
For inditing in sonnets, pantoums, elegiacs, or lays
Is this:
"In the name of God, how could they do it?"



For there is no new thing under the sun,

Only this uncomely man with a smoking gun

In the gloom. . . .

What the devil will he gain by it?

Digging a hole in the mud and standing all day in the rain by it

Waiting his doom;

The sharp blow, the swift outpouring of the blood

Till the trench of gray mud

Is turned to a brown purple drain by it.

Well, there have been scars



140 THE NEW POETRY

Won in many wars,

Punic,

Lacedaemonian, wars of Napoleon, wars for faith, wars for honor,

for love, for possession,
But this Belgian man in his ugly tunic,
His ugly round cap, shooting on, in a sort of obsession,
Overspreading his miserable land,
Standing with his wet gun in his hand. . . .
Doom!

He finds that in a sudden scrimmage,
And lies, an unsightly lump on the sodden grass . . .
An image that shall take long to pass!

m

For the white-limbed heroes of Hellas ride by upon their horses

Forever through our brains.

The heroes of Cressy ride by upon their stallions;

And battalions and battalions and battalions

The Old Guard, the Young Guard, the men of Minden and of

Waterloo,

Pass, for ever staunch,
Stand, for ever true;

And the small man with the large paunch,
And the gray coat, and the large hat, and the hands behind the

back,

Watches them pass
In our minds for ever. . . .
But that clutter of sodden corses
On the sodden Belgian grass
That is a strange new beauty.

IV

With no especial legends of marchings or triumphs or duty,
Assuredly that is the way of it,
The way of beauty. . . .



FORD MADOX HUEFFER 141

And that is the highest word you can find to say of it.

For you cannot praise it with words

Compounded of lyres and swords,

But the thought of the gloom and the rain

And the ugly coated figure, standing beside a drain,

Shall eat itself into your brain:

And you will say of all heroes, "They fought like the Belgians!"

And you will say, "He wrought like a Belgian his fate out of

gloom."

And you will say, "He bought like a Belgian
His doom."

And that shall be an honorable name;
"Belgian" shall be an honorable word;
As honorable as the fame of the sword,
As honorable as the mention of the many-chorded lyre,
And his old coat shall seem as beautiful as the fabrics woven in

Tyre.



And what in the world did they bear it for?

I don't know.

And what in the world did they dare it for?

Perhaps that is not for the likes of me to understand.

They could very well have watched a hundred legions go

Over their fields and between their cities

Down into more southerly regions.

They could very well have let the legions pass through their woods,

And have kept their lives and their wives and their children and

cattle and goods.
I don't understand.
Was it just love of their land?
Oh, poor dears!
Can any man so love his land?
Give them a thousand thousand pities
And rivers and rivers of tears
To wash off the blood from the cities of Flanders.



142 THE NEW POETRY

VI

This is Charing Cross;

It is midnight;

There is a great crowd

And no light

A great crowd, all black, that hardly whispers aloud.

Surely, that is a dead woman a dead mother!

She has a dead face;

She is dressed all in black;

She wanders to the book-stall and back,

At the back of the crowd;

And back again and again back,

She sways and wanders.

This is Charing Cross;

It is one o'clock.

There is still a great cloud, and very little light;

Immense shafts of shadows over the black crowd

That hardly whispers aloud. . . .

And now! . . . That is another dead mother,

And there is another and another and another. . . .

And little children, all in black,

All with dead faces, waiting in all the waiting-places,

Wandering from the doors of the waiting-room

In the dim gloom.

These are the women of Flanders:

They await the lost.

They await the lost that shall never leave the dock;

They await the lost that shall never again come by the train

To the embraces of all these women with dead faces;

They await the lost who lie dead in trench and barrier and fosse,

In the dark of the night.

This is Charing Cross; it is past one of the clock;

There is very little light.

There is so much pain.



SCHARMEL IRIS 143



L'Envoi:

And it was for this that they endured this gloom;
This October like November,
That August like a hundred thousand hours,
And that September,
A hundred thousand dragging sunlit days
And half October like a thousand years. . . .
Oh, poor dears!



Scharmel Iris

AFTER THE MARTYRDOM

They threw a stone, you threw a stone,

I threw a stone that day.
Although their sharpness bruised his flesh

He had no word to say.

But for the moan he did not make

To-day I make my moan;
And for the stone I threw at him

My heart must bear a stone.



LAMENT

Lady, your heart has turned to dust,
Your wail is taken by the sea.

The wind is knocking at my heart,
And will not let me be.

Your moaning smites me in my dreams,
And I must sorrow till I die.

And I shall rove, and I shall weep,
Till in the grave I lie.



144 THE NEW POETRY

ITERATION

My son is dead and I am going blind,
And in the Ishmael-wind of grief
I tremble like a leaf;
I have no mind for any word you say:
My son is dead and I am going blind.

EARLY NIGHTFALL

The pale day drowses on the western steep;
The toiler faints along the marge of sleep
Within the sunset-press, incarnadine,
The sun, a peasant, tramples out his wine.

Ah, scattered gold rests on the twilight streams;
The poppy opes her scarlet purse of dreams.
Night with the sickle-moon engarners wheat,
And binds the sheaves of stars beneath her feet.

Rest, weary heart, and every flight-worn bird!
The brooklet of the meadow lies unstirred.
Sleep, every soul, against a comrade breast!
God grant you peace, and guard you in your rest!



Orrick Johns
SONGS OF DELIVERANCE

I THE SONG OF YOUTH

This is the song of youth,

This is the cause of myself;

I knew my father well and he was a fool,

Therefore will I have my own foot in the path before I take a step;



ORRICK JOHNS 145

I will go only into new lands,

And I will walk on no plank-walks.

The horses of my family are wind-broken,

And the dogs are old,

And the guns rusty;

I will make me a new bow from an ash-tree,

And cut up the homestead into arrows.

Behold how people stand around!

(There are always crowds of people standing around,

Whose legs have no knees)

While the engineers put up steel work . . .

Is it something to catch the sunlight,

Jewelry and gew-gaw?

I have no time to wait for them to build bridges for me;

Where awful the gap seems stretching there is no gap,

Leaping I take it at once from a thought to a thought.

I can no more walk in the stride of other men

Than be father of their children.

My treasure lured like a bright star,

And I went to it young and desirous.

Lo, as it stood there in its great chests,

The wise men came up with the keys,

Crying, "Blasphemy, blasphemy!"

For I had broken the locks. . . .

And when the procession went waving to a funeral,

They cried it again;

For I stayed in my home and spoke truth about the dead.

Much did I learn waiting in my youth;

At the door of a great man I waited on one foot and then on the

other.
The files passed in and out before me to the antechamber, for at

that door I was not favored:
(O costly preferment!)
Yet I watched them coming and going,



146 THE NEW POETRY

And I learned the great man by heart from the stories on their

faces.
When presently the retainers arrived, one above the other in a

row, saying:

"The great man is ready,"
I had long been a greater than he.

This is the reason for myself:

When I used to go in the races, I had but one prayer,

And I went first before the judges, saying;

"Give everyone a distance, such as you consider best;

I will run scratch."

ii VIRGINS

I have had one fear in my life

When I was young I feared virgins;

But I do not any more. . . .

By contact with them I learn that each is a center,

And has a period of brightness,

And stands epitome in that brief space

Of the Universe!

Ah, the ephemeral eternal!

In virgins' eyes I would live reflected as in a globe,

And know myself purer than crystal.

Ill NO PREY AM I

No prey am I of poor thoughts.

I leave all of my followers; I tire quickly of them;

I send them away from me when they ask too much; for though

I live alone
Still will I live, night and day . . .

There is not anything in me save mutation and laughter;

My laughter is like a sword,

Like the piston-rod that defies oceans and grades.



ORRICK JOHNS 147

When I labor it is a song of battle in the broad noon;
For behold the muscles of a man

They are piston-rods; they are cranes, hydraulic presses, powder-
magazines:

But though my body be as beautiful as a hill crowned with flowers
I will despise it and make it obey me . . .

Is the old love dead?

Then I shall await the new,

To embrace it more sturdily and passionately than ever the old;

And break it under the white force of my laughter

Until it lies passive in my arms.

There is nothing in me but renewal;

If my friend bow his head over me I soon surprise him with shouts

of joy:

For in an instant I am again what I was,
Only with a few moments more of the infusion of earth;
I tell him, the griever, to follow me and he is a griever no more;
He raises his head and must follow.
Yet it is my battle, not his battle,
For in me I absorb others . . .
I hail parties and partisans from afar;
Not men but parties are my comrades,
Not persons but nations are my associates.
I shake the hand of nations;

For I am a nation and a party, and majorities do not elect me
I elect myself.
I swam in the sea, and lo!

The continents assembled like islands off my coast.
My talk is with Homer and Bonaparte, with David and Garibaldi,

with China and Pharaoh and Texas;
When I laugh it is with Lucifer and Rabelais.
A pathfinder is my mistress, one hard to keep and unbridled
I have no respect for tame women.
My friends and I do not meet every day,
For we are centuries apart, our salutations girdle the globe.



148 THE NEW POETRY

I have eaten locusts with Jeremiah;

I invite all hatreds and the stings of little creatures

They enrich me, I glory in my parasites.

No man shall ever read me,

For I bring about in a gesture what they cannot fathom in a life;

Yet I tell Bob and Harry and Bill

It costs me nothing to be kind;

If I am a generous adversary, be not deceived, neither be devoted

It is because I despise you.

Yet if any man claim to be my peer I shall meet him,

For that man has an insolence that I like;

I am beholden to him.

I know the lightning when I see it,

And the toad when I see it. . .

I warn all pretenders.

Yet before I came it was known of me to the chosen, all that I

should do.
Every tree knew it;
Every lion and every leech knew it
And called out to meet the new enemy,
The new friend. . .
What power can deny me?

It was known that I should do not one thing but hundreds,
For I despise my works and make them obey me.
I have my time and I bide it. . .
It was known that I should turn no whit from my end, until I

had attained it.

Nothing has scathed me,

Nothing ever, nor ever will.

I have touched pitch, I have revelled in it and rolled in it;

Buried in mire and filth, I laughed long,

And sprang up.

I have loved lust and vain deviltries.

And taken them into my heart



ORRICK JOHNS 149

Their dirt and their lies and my heart was aflame
With a new fancy. . .
Not me can pitch defile!
For the Spring, my sister, rose under my feet
And I was again naked and white,
Ready to dive into the deep pool, green and bottomless,
The medium for heroes, since it is dangerous and beautiful
The pool of Tomorrow!

It is because I breathe like fishes and live hi the waters of To-
morrow that Death fears me. . .

How often I have intercepted thee, O Death!

windy liar!

Thou canst do nothing against me;

If I command thee to stand back thou art afraid and cowerest,

For I have caught thee often and punished thee. . .

1 am the greatest laugher of all,
Greater than the sun and the oak-tree,
Than the frog and Apollo;

I laugh all day long!

I laugh at Death, I hail Death, I kiss her on the cheek as a lover

his bride,

But the lover goes not to his bride unless he desire her;
I go not to Death until I am ready.
The strong lover goes not to his bride save when he would people

his land with sons;
Then I, too, I go not to Death, save it be for the labor greater than

all others.

I shall break her with my laughter;
I shall complete her. . .
Only then shall Death be when I die!



150 THE NEW POETRY

Joyce Kilmer

TREES

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.



EASTER

The air is like a butterfly

With frail blue wings.
The happy earth looks at the sky

And sings.



ALFRED KREYMBORG 151



Alfred Kreymborg

AMERICA

Up and down he goes

With terrible, reckless strides,

Flaunting great lamps

With joyous swings

One to the East

And one to the West

And flaunting two words

In a thunderous call

That thrills the hearts of all enemies:

All, One; All, One; All, One; All, One!

Beware that queer, wild, wonderful boy

And his playground don't go near!

All, One; All, One; All, One; All, One;

Up and down he goes.



OLD MANUSCRIPT

The sky

Is that beautiful old parchment

In which the sun

And the moon

Keep their diary.

To read it all,

One must be a linguist

More learned than Father Wisdom;

And a visionary

More clairvoyant than Mother Dream.

But to feel it,

One must be an apostle:

One who is more than intimate



152 THE NEW POETRY

In having been, always,
The only confidant
Like the earth
Or the sea.



CfiZANNE

Our door was shut to the noon-day heat.

We could not see him.

We might not have heard him either

Resting, dozing, dreaming pleasantly.

But his step was tremendous

Are mountains on the march?



He was no man who passed;
But a great faithful horse
Dragging a load
Up the hill.



PARASITE

Good woman:

Don't love the man.

Love yourself,

As you have done so exquisitely before.

Like that tortoise-shell cat of yours

Washing away the flies; or are they fleas?

You've hurt him again?

Good!

Do it. of ten.

No

He'll love you the more

Always.

Remember how he forgave you the last time,

And how he loved you in the forgiving.



WILLIAM LAIRD 153

Give him an adventure in godhood
And the higher moralities.
Hurt him again.
Fine!



William Laird

TRAtJMEREI AT OSTENDORFFS

I ate at OstendorfFs, and saw a dame
With eager golden eyes, paired with a red,

Bald, chilled, old man. Piercing the clatter came
Keen Traumerei. On the sound he bowed his head,
Covered his eyes, and looked on things long sped.

Her white fierce fingers strained, but could not stir

His close-locked hands, nor bring him back to her.

Let him alone, bright lady; for he clips
A fairer lass than you, with all your fire:

Let him alone; he touches sweeter lips
Than yours he hired, as others yet shall hire:
Leave him the quickening pang of clean desire,

Even though vain: nor taint those spring winds blown

From banks of perished bloom: let him alone.

Bitter-sweet melody, that call'st to tryst
Love from the hostile dark, would God thy breath

Might break upon him now through thickening mist,
The trumpet-summons of imperial Death
That now, with fire-clean lips where quivereth

Atoning sorrow, he shall seek the eyes

Long turned towards earth from fields of paradist



154 THE NEW POETRY

In vain: by virtue of a far-off smile,
Men may be deaf a space to gross behests

Of nearer voices; for some little while
Sharp pains of youth may burn in old men's breasts.
But men must eat, though angels be their guests:

The waiter brought spaghetti; he looked up,

Hemmed, blinked, and fiddled with his coffee-cup.

A VERY OLD SONG

"Daughter, thou art come to die:

Sound be thy sleeping, lass."
"Well: without lament or cry,

Mother, let me pass."

"What things on mould were best of all?

(Soft be thy sleeping, lass.) "
"The apples reddening till they fall
In the sun beside the convent wall.

Let me pass."

"Whom on earth hast thou loved best?

(Sound be thy sleeping, lass.) "
"Him that shared with me thy breast;
Thee; and a knight last year our guest.
He hath an heron to his crest.

Let me pass."

"What leavest thou of fame or hoard?

(Soft be thy sleeping, lass.) "
"My far-blown shame for thy reward;
To my brother, gold to get him a sword.

Let me pass."

"But what wilt leave thy lover, Grim?

(Sound be thy sleeping, lass.) "
"The hair he kissed to strangle him.

Mother, let me pass."



D. H. LAWRENCE 155

D. H. Lawrence

A WOMAN AND HER DEAD HUSBAND

Ah stern cold man,

How can you lie so relentless hard

While I wash you with weeping water!

Ah face, carved hard and cold,

You have been like this, on your guard

Against me, since death began.

You masquerader!
How can you shame to act this part
Of unswerving indifference to me?
It is not you; why disguise yourself
Against me, to break my heart,
You evader?

YouVe a warm mouth,

A good warm mouth always sooner to soften

Even than your sudden eyes.

Ah cruel, to keep your mouth

Relentless, however often

I kiss it in drouth.

You are not he.

Who are you, lying in his place on the bed

And rigid and indifferent to me?

His mouth, though he laughed or sulked,

Was always warm and red

And good to me.

And his eyes could see

The white moon hang like a breast revealed

By the slipping shawl of stars,



156 THE NEW POETRY

Could see the small stars tremble
As the heart beneath did wield
Systole, diastole.

And he showed it me

So, when he made his love to me;

And his brows like rocks on the sea jut out,

And his eyes were deep like the sea

With shadow, and he looked at me,

Till I sank in him like the sea,

Awfully.

Oh, he was multiform

Which then was he among the manifold?

The gay, the sorrowful, the seer?

I have loved a rich race of men in one

But not this, this never-warm

Metal-cold!

Ah masquerader!

With your steel face white-enamelled,

Were you he, after all, and I never

Saw you or felt you in kissing?

Yet sometimes my heart was trammelled

With fear, evader!

Then was it you

After all, this cold, hard man?

Ah no, look up at me,

Tell me it isn't true,

That you're only frightening me!

You will not stir,

Nor hear me, not a sound.

Then it was you

And all this time you were

Like this when I lived with you.



D. H. LAWRENCE 157

It is not true,

I am frightened, I am frightened of you

And of everything.

O God! God too

Has deceived me in everything,

In everything.



FIREFLIES IN THE CORN

A woman taunts her lover:

Look at the little darlings in the corn!

The rye is taller than you, who think yourself

So high and mighty: look how its heads are borne

Dark and proud on the sky, like a number of knights

Passing with spears and pennants and manly scorn.

And always likely! Oh, if I could ride

With my head held high-serene against the sky

Do you think I'd have a creature like you at my side

With your gloom and your doubt that you love me?

O darling rye,
How I adore you for your simple pride!

And those bright fireflies wafting in between
And over the swaying cornstalks, just above
All their dark-feathered helmets, like little green
Stars come low and wandering here for love
Of this dark earth, and wandering all serene !

How I adore you, you happy things, you dears,
Riding the air and carrying all the time
Your little lanterns behind you: it cheers
My heart to see you settling and trying to climb
The corn-stalks, tipping with fire their spears.



158 THE NEW POETRY

All over the corn's dim motion, against the blue
Dark sky of night, the wandering glitter, the swarm
Of questing brilliant things: you joy, you true
Spirit of careless joy: ah, how I warm
My poor and perished soul at the joy of you!

The man answers and she mocks:
You're a fool, woman. I love you, and you know I do!

Lord, take his love away, it makes him whine.
And I give you everything that you want me to.

Lord, dear Lord, do you think he ever can shine?

GREEN

The dawn was apple-green,

The sky was green wine held up in the sun,

The moon was a golden petal between.

She opened her eyes, and green

They shone, clear like flowers undone

For the first time, now for the first time seen.

GRIEF

The darkness steals the forms of all the queens.
But oh, the palms of her two black hands are red!
It is Death I fear so much, it is not the dead
Not this gray book, but the red and bloody scenes.

The lamps are white like snowdrops in the grass;
The town is like a churchyard, all so still
And gray, now night is here: nor will
Another torn red sunset come to pass.

And so I sit and turn the book of gray,
Feeling the shadows like a blind man reading,
All fearful lest I find some next word bleeding.
Nay, take my painted missal book away.



AGNES LEE 159



SERVICE OF ALL THE DEAD

Between the avenue of cypresses

All in their scarlet capes and surplices

Of linen, go the chaunting choristers,

The priests in gold and black, the villagers.

And all along the path to the cemetery
The round dark heads of men crowd silently;
And black-scarfed faces of women-folk wistfully
Watch at the banner of death, and the mystery.

And at the foot of a grave a father stands
With sunken head and forgotten, folded hands;
And at the foot of a grave a mother kneels
With pale shut face, nor neither hears nor feels

The coming of the chaunting choristers
Between the avenue of cypresses,
The silence of the many villagers,
The candle-flames beside the surplices.



Agnes Lee

MOTHERHOOD

Mary, the Christ long slain, passed silently,
Following the children joyously astir
Under the cedrus and the olive-tree,
Pausing to let their laughter float to her.
Each voice an echo of a voice more dear,
She saw a little Christ in every face;
When lo, another woman, gliding near,
Yearned o'er the tender life that filled the place.



160 THE NEW POETRY

And Mary sought the woman 's hand, and spoke:
"I know thee not, yet know thy memory tossed
With all a thousand dreams their eyes evoke
Who bring to thee a child beloved and lost.

"I, too, have rocked my little one.


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