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Title: Some Imagist Poets, 1916 - An Annual Anthology
Author: Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert), 1885-1930, Flint, F. S. (Frank Stewart), 1885-1960, Fletcher, John Gould, 1886-1950, Aldington, Richard, 1892-1962, Lowell, Amy, 1874-1925, H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), 1886-1961
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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produced from scanned images of public domain material


The New Poetry Series

PUBLISHED BY HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY


IRRADIATIONS. SAND AND SPRAY. JOHN GOULD FLETCHER.

SOME IMAGIST POETS.

JAPANESE LYRICS. Translated by LAFCADIO HEARN.

AFTERNOONS OF APRIL. GRACE HAZARD CONKLING.

THE CLOISTER: A VERSE DRAMA. EMILE VERHAEREN.

INTERFLOW. GEOFFREY C. FABER.

STILLWATER PASTORALS AND OTHER POEMS. PAUL SHIVELL.

IDOLS. WALTER CONRAD ARENSBERG.

TURNS AND MOVIES, AND OTHER TALES IN VERSE. CONRAD AIKEN.

ROADS. GRACE FALLOW NORTON.

GOBLINS AND PAGODAS. JOHN GOULD FLETCHER.

SOME IMAGIST POETS. _1916._

A SONG OF THE GUNS. GILBERT FRANKAU.

MOTHERS AND MEN. HAROLD T. PULSIFER.



SOME IMAGIST POETS, _1916_



  SOME IMAGIST POETS
  _1916_

  AN ANNUAL ANTHOLOGY


  [Illustration]

  BOSTON AND NEW YORK
  HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
  The Riverside Press Cambridge
  1916

  COPYRIGHT, 1916, BY HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  _Published May 1916_

  THIRD IMPRESSION



PREFACE


In bringing the second volume of _Some Imagist Poets_ before the
public, the authors wish to express their gratitude for the interest
which the 1915 volume aroused. The discussion of it was widespread,
and even those critics out of sympathy with Imagist tenets accorded
it much space. In the Preface to that book, we endeavoured to present
those tenets in a succinct form. But the very brevity we employed has
lead to a great deal of misunderstanding. We have decided, therefore,
to explain the laws which govern us a little more fully. A few people
may understand, and the rest can merely misunderstand again, a result
to which we are quite accustomed.

In the first place “Imagism” does not mean merely the presentation of
pictures. “Imagism” refers to the manner of presentation, not to the
subject. It means a clear presentation of whatever the author wishes
to convey. Now he may wish to convey a mood of indecision, in which
case the poem should be indecisive; he may wish to bring before his
reader the constantly shifting and changing lights over a landscape,
or the varying attitudes of mind of a person under strong emotion,
then his poem must shift and change to present this clearly. The
“exact” word does not mean the word which exactly describes the
object in itself, it means the “exact” word which brings the effect
of that object before the reader as it presented itself to the poet's
mind at the time of writing the poem. Imagists deal but little with
similes, although much of their poetry is metaphorical. The reason
for this is that while acknowledging the figure to be an integral
part of all poetry, they feel that the constant imposing of one
figure upon another in the same poem blurs the central effect.

The great French critic, Remy de Gourmont, wrote last Summer in _La
France_ that the Imagists were the descendants of the French
_Symbolistes_. In the Preface to his _Livre des Masques_, M. de
Gourmont has thus described _Symbolisme_: “Individualism in
literature, liberty of art, abandonment of existing forms.... The
sole excuse which a man can have for writing is to write down
himself, to unveil for others the sort of world which mirrors itself
in his individual glass.... He should create his own aesthetics--and
we should admit as many aesthetics as there are original minds, and
judge them for what they are and not what they are not.” In this
sense the Imagists are descendants of the _Symbolistes_; they are
Individualists.

The only reason that Imagism has seemed so anarchaic and strange to
English and American reviewers is that their minds do not easily and
quickly suggest the steps by which modern art has arrived at its
present position. Its immediate prototype cannot be found in English
or American literature, we must turn to Europe for it. With Debussy
and Stravinsky in music, and Gauguin and Matisse in painting, it
should have been evident to every one that art was entering upon an
era of change. But music and painting are universal languages, so we
have become accustomed to new idioms in them, while we still find it
hard to recognize a changed idiom in literature.

The crux of the situation is just here. It is in the idiom employed.
Imagism asks to be judged by different standards from those employed
in Nineteenth-Century art. It is small wonder that Imagist poetry
should be incomprehensible to men whose sole touchstone for art is
the literature of one country for a period of four centuries. And it
is an illuminating fact that among poets and men conversant with many
poetic idioms, Imagism is rarely misconceived. They may not agree
with us, but they do not misunderstand us.

This must not be misconstrued into the desire to belittle our
forerunners. On the contrary, the Imagists have the greatest
admiration for the past, and humility towards it. But they have been
caught in the throes of a new birth. The exterior world is changing,
and with it men's feelings, and every age must express its feelings
in its own individual way. No art is any more “egoistic” than
another; all art is an attempt to express the feelings of the artist,
whether it be couched in narrative form or employ a more personal
expression.

It is not what Imagists write about which makes them hard of
comprehension; it is the way they write it. All nations have laws of
prosody, which undergo changes from time to time. The laws of English
metrical prosody are well known to every one concerned with the
subject. But that is only one form of prosody. Other nations have had
different ones: Anglo-Saxon poetry was founded upon alliteration,
Greek and Roman was built upon quantity, the Oriental was formed out
of repetition, and the Japanese Hokku got its effects by an exact and
never-to-be-added-to series of single syllables. So it is evident
that poetry can be written in many modes. That the Imagists base much
of their poetry upon cadence and not upon metre makes them neither
good nor bad. And no one realizes more than they that no theories nor
rules make poetry. They claim for their work only that it is sincere.

It is this very fact of “cadence” which has misled so many reviewers,
until some have been betrayed into saying that the Imagists discard
rhythm, when rhythm is the most important quality in their technique.
The definition of _vers libre_ is--a verse-form based upon cadence.
Now cadence in music is one thing, cadence in poetry quite another,
since we are not dealing with tone but with rhythm. It is the sense
of perfect balance of flow and rhythm. Not only must the syllables so
fall as to increase and continue the movement, but the whole poem
must be as rounded and recurring as the circular swing of a balanced
pendulum. It can be fast or slow, it may even jerk, but this perfect
swing it must have, even its jerks must follow the central movement.
To illustrate: Suppose a person were given the task of walking, or
running, round a large circle, with two minutes given to do it in.
Two minutes which he would just consume if he walked round the circle
quietly. But in order to make the task easier for him, or harder, as
the case might be, he was required to complete each half of the
circle in exactly a minute. No other restrictions were placed upon
him. He might dawdle in the beginning, and run madly to reach the
half-circle mark on time, and then complete his task by walking
steadily round the second half to goal. Or he might leap, and run,
and skip, and linger in all sorts of ways, making up for slow going
by fast, and for extra haste by pauses, and varying these movements
on either lap of the circle as the humour seized him, only so that he
were just one minute in traversing the first half-circle, and just
one minute in traversing the second. Another illustration which may
be employed is that of a Japanese wood-carving where a toad in one
corner is balanced by a spray of blown flowers in the opposite upper
one. The flowers are not the same shape as the toad, neither are they
the same size, but the balance is preserved.

The unit in _vers libre_ is not the foot, the number of the
syllables, the quantity, or the line. The unit is the strophe, which
may be the whole poem, or may be only a part. Each strophe is a
complete circle: in fact, the meaning of the Greek word “strophe” is
simply that part of the poem which was recited while the chorus were
making a turn round the altar set up in the centre of the theatre.
The simile of the circle is more than a simile, therefore; it is a
fact. Of course the circle need not always be the same size, nor need
the times allowed to negotiate it be always the same. There is room
here for an infinite number of variations. Also, circles can be added
to circles, movement upon movement, to the poem, provided each
movement completes itself, and ramifies naturally into the next. But
one thing must be borne in mind: a cadenced poem is written to be
read aloud, in this way only will its rhythm be felt. Poetry is a
spoken and not a written art.

The _vers libristes_ are often accused of declaring that they have
discovered a new thing. Where such an idea started, it is impossible
to say, certainly none of the better _vers libristes_ was ever guilty
of so ridiculous a statement. The name _vers libre_ is new, the
thing, most emphatically, is not. Not new in English poetry, at any
rate. You will find something very much like it in Dryden's
_Threnodia Augustalis_; a great deal of Milton's _Samson Agonistes_
is written in it; and Matthew Arnold's _Philomela_ is a shining
example of it. Practically all of Henley's _London Voluntaries_ are
written in it, and (so potent are names) until it was christened
_vers libre_, no one thought of objecting to it. But the oldest
reference to _vers libre_ is to be found in Chaucer's _House of
Fame_, where the Eagle addresses the Poet in these words:

  And nevertheless hast set thy wyt
  Although that in thy heed full lyte is
  To make bookes, songes, or dytees
  In rhyme or elles in cadence.

Commentators have wasted reams of paper in an endeavour to determine
what Chaucer meant by this. But is it not possible that he meant a
verse based upon rhythm, but which did not follow the strict metrical
prosody of his usual practice?

One of the charges frequently brought against the Imagists is that
they write, not poetry, but “shredded prose.” This misconception
springs from the almost complete ignorance of the public in regard to
the laws of cadenced verse. But, in fact, what is prose and what is
poetry? Is it merely a matter of typographical arrangement? Must
everything which is printed in equal lines, with rhymes at the ends,
be called poetry, and everything which is printed in a block be
called prose? Aristotle, who certainly knew more about this subject
than any one else, declares in his _Rhetoric_ that prose is
rhythmical without being metrical (that is to say, without insistence
on any single rhythm), and then goes on to state the feet that are
employed in prose, making, incidentally, the remark that the iambic
prevailed in ordinary conversation. The fact is, that there is no
hard and fast dividing line between prose and poetry. As a French
poet of distinction, Paul Fort, has said: “Prose and poetry are but
one instrument, graduated.” It is not a question of typography; it is
not even a question of rules and forms. Poetry is the vision in a
man's soul which he translates as best he can with the means at his
disposal.

We are young, we are experimentalists, but we ask to be judged by our
own standards, not by those which have governed other men at other
times.



CONTENTS


  RICHARD ALDINGTON

  Eros and Psyche                                                   3

  After Two Years                                                   6

  1915                                                              7

  Whitechapel                                                       8

  Sunsets                                                          10

  People                                                           11

  Reflections: I and II                                            12


  H. D.

  Sea Gods                                                         17

  The Shrine                                                       21

  Temple--The Cliff                                                26

  Mid-day                                                          30


  JOHN GOULD FLETCHER

  Arizona                                                          35

  The Unquiet Street                                               42

  In the Theatre                                                   43

  Ships in the Harbour                                             44

  The Empty House                                                  45

  The Skaters                                                      48


  F. S. FLINT

  Easter                                                           51

  Ogre                                                             54

  Cones                                                            56

  Gloom                                                            57

  Terror                                                           60

  Chalfont Saint Giles                                             61

  War-Time                                                         63


  D. H. LAWRENCE

  Erinnyes                                                         67

  Perfidy                                                          70

  At the Window                                                    72

  In Trouble and Shame                                             73

  Brooding Grief                                                   74


  AMY LOWELL

  Patterns                                                         77

  Spring Day                                                       82

  Stravinsky's Three Pieces, “Grotesques,” for String Quartet      87


  BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                     93

The authors wish to express their gratitude to the editors of _The
Egoist_ and _Poetry and Drama_, London; _The Poetry Journal_, Boston;
_The Little Review_ and _Poetry_, Chicago, for permission to reprint
certain of these poems which originally appeared in their columns. To
_Poetry_ belongs the credit of having introduced Imagism to the
world: it seems fitting, therefore, that the authors should record
their thanks in this place for the constant interest and
encouragement shown them by its editor, Miss Harriet Monroe.



RICHARD ALDINGTON



EROS AND PSYCHE


  In an old dull yard near Camden Town,
  Which echoes with the rattle of cars and 'busses
  And freight-trains, puffing steam and smoke and dirt
  To the steaming, sooty sky--
  There stands an old and grimy statue,
  A statue of Psyche and her lover, Eros.

  A little nearer Camden Town,
  In a square of ugly sordid shops,
  Is another statue, facing the Tube,
  Staring with a heavy, purposeless glare
  At the red and white shining tiles--
  A tall stone statue of Cobden.
  And though no one ever pauses to see
  What hero it is that faces the Tube,
  I can understand very well indeed
  That England must honour its national heroes,
  Must honour the hero of Free Trade--
  Or was it the Corn Laws?--
  That I can understand.
  But what I shall never understand
  Is the little group in the dingy yard
  Under the dingier sky,
  The Eros and Psyche--
  Surrounded with pots and terra-cotta busts
  And urns and broken pillars--
  Eros, naked, with his wings stretched out
  Just lighting down to kiss her on the lips.

  What are they doing here in Camden Town
  In the midst of all this clamour and filth?
  They who should stand in a sun-lit room
  Hung with deep purple, painted with gods,
  Paved with white porphyry,
  Stand for ever embraced
  By the side of a rustling fountain
  Over a marble basin
  Carved with leopards and grapes and young men dancing;
  Or in a garden leaning above Corinth,
  Under the ilices and the cypresses,
  Very white against a very blue sky;
  Or growing hoary, if they must grow old,
  With lichens and softly creeping moss.
  What are they doing here in Camden Town?
  And who has brought their naked beauty
  And their young fresh lust to Camden Town,
  Which settled long ago to toil and sweat and filth,
  Forgetting--to the greater glory of Free Trade--
  Young beauty and young love and youthful flesh?

  Slowly the rain settles down on them,
  Slowly the soot eats into them,
  Slowly the stone grows greyer and dirtier,
  Till in spite of his spreading wings
  Her eyes have a rim of soot
  Half an inch deep,
  And his wings, the tall god's wings,
  That should be red and silver
  Are ocherous brown.

  And I peer from a 'bus-top
  As we splash through the grease and puddles,
  And I glimpse them, huddled against the wall,
  Half-hidden under a freight-train's smoke,
  And I see the limbs that a Greek slave cut
  In some old Italian town,
  I see them growing older
  And sadder
  And greyer.



AFTER TWO YEARS


  She is all so slight
  And tender and white
      As a May morning.
  She walks without hood
  At dusk. It is good
      To hear her sing.

  It is God's will
  That I shall love her still
      As He loves Mary.
  And night and day
  I will go forth to pray
      That she love me.

  She is as gold
  Lovely, and far more cold.
      Do thou pray with me,
  For if I win grace
  To kiss twice her face
      God has done well to me.



1915


  The limbs of gods,
  Still, veined marble,
  Rest heavily in sleep
  Under a saffron twilight.

  Not for them battle,
  Severed limbs, death, and a cry of victory;
  Not for them strife
  And a torment of storm.

  A vast breast moves slowly,
  The great thighs shift,
  The stone eyelids rise;
  The slow tongue speaks:

  “_Only a rain of bright dust;_
  _In the outer air;_
  _A little whisper of wind;_
  _Sleep; rest; forget._”

  Bright dust of battle!
  A little whisper of dead souls!



WHITECHAPEL


  Noise;
  Iron hoofs, iron wheels, iron din
  Of drays and trams and feet passing;
  Iron
  Beaten to a vast mad cacophony.

  _In vain the shrill, far cry_
  _Of swallows sweeping by;_
  _In vain the silence and green_
  _Of meadows Apriline;_
  _In vain the clear white rain--_

  Soot; mud;
  A nation maddened with labour;
  Interminable collision of energies--
  Iron beating upon iron;
  Smoke whirling upwards,
  Speechless, impotent.

  _In vain the shrill, far cry_
  _Of kittiwakes that fly_
  _Where the sea waves leap green._
  _The meadows Apriline--_

  Noise, iron, smoke;
  Iron, iron, iron.



SUNSETS


  The white body of the evening
  Is torn into scarlet,
  Slashed and gouged and seared
  Into crimson,
  And hung ironically
  With garlands of mist.

  And the wind
  Blowing over London from Flanders
  Has a bitter taste.



PEOPLE


  Why should you try to crush me?
  Am I so Christ-like?

  You beat against me,
  Immense waves, filthy with refuse.
  I am the last upright of a smashed break-water,
  But you shall not crush me
  Though you bury me in foaming slime
  And hiss your hatred about me.

  You break over me, cover me;
  I shudder at the contact;
  Yet I pierce through you
  And stand up, torn, dripping, shaken,
  But whole and fierce.



REFLECTIONS


I

  Steal out with me
  Over the moss and the daffodils.

  Come to the temple,
  Hung with sprays from untrimmed hedges.

  I bring you a token
  From the golden-haired revellers,
  From the mad procession.

  Come,
  Flute girls shall pipe to us--
  Their beautiful fingers!--
  They are yellow-throated birds.
  They send perfumes from dawn-scented garments,
  Bending above us.

  Come,
  Bind your hair with white poplar,
  Let your lips be sweet,
  Wild roses of Paestum.


II

  Ghost moths hover over asphodel;
  Shades, once Laïs' peers
  Drift past us;
  The mist is grey.

  Far over us
  The white wave-crests flash in the sun;
  The sea-girls lie upon hot, weedy rocks.

  Now the Maid returns to us
  With fragrance of the world
  And of the hours of gods.
  On earth
  Apple-trees, weighted with red fruit,
  Streams, passing through the corn lands,
  Hear laughter.

  We pluck the asphodel,
  Yet we weave no crowns
  For we have no vines;
  No one speaks here;
  No one kisses.



H. D.



SEA GODS


I

  They say there is no hope--
  Sand--drift--rocks--rubble of the sea--
  The broken hulk of a ship,
  Hung with shreds of rope,
  Pallid under the cracked pitch.

  They say there is no hope
  To conjure you--
  No whip of the tongue to anger you--
  No hate of words
  You must rise to refute.

  They say you are twisted by the sea,
  You are cut apart
  By wave-break upon wave-break,
  That you are misshapen by the sharp rocks,
  Broken by the rasp and after-rasp.

  That you are cut, torn, mangled,
  Torn by the stress and beat,
  No stronger than the strips of sand
  Along your ragged beach.


II

  But we bring violets,
  Great masses--single, sweet,
  Wood-violets, stream-violets,
  Violets from a wet marsh.

  Violets in clumps from hills,
  Tufts with earth at the roots,
  Violets tugged from rocks,
  Blue violets, moss, cliff, river-violets.

  Yellow violets' gold,
  Burnt with a rare tint--
  Violets like red ash
  Among tufts of grass.

  We bring deep-purple
  Bird-foot violets.

  We bring the hyacinth-violet,
  Sweet, bare, chill to the touch--
  And violets whiter than the in-rush
  Of your own white surf.


III

  For you will come,
  You will yet haunt men in ships,
  You will trail across the fringe of strait
  And circle the jagged rocks.

  You will trail across the rocks
  And wash them with your salt,
  You will curl between sand-hills--
  You will thunder along the cliff--
  Break--retreat--get fresh strength--
  Gather and pour weight upon the beach.

  You will draw back,
  And the ripple on the sand-shelf
  Will be witness of your track.

  O privet-white, you will paint
  The lintel of wet sand with froth.

  You will bring myrrh-bark
  And drift laurel-wood from hot coasts.
  When you hurl high--high--
  We will answer with a shout.

  For you will come,
  You will come,
  You will answer our taut hearts,
  You will break the lie of men's thoughts,
  And cherish and shelter us.



THE SHRINE

(“_She Watches Over the Sea_”)


I

  Are your rocks shelter for ships?
  Have you sent galleys from your beach--
  Are you graded--a safe crescent,
  Where the tide lifts them back to port?
  Are you full and sweet,
  Tempting the quiet
  To depart in their trading ships?

  Nay, you are great, fierce, evil--
  You are the land-blight--
  You have tempted men,
  But they perished on your cliffs.

  Your lights are but dank shoals,
  Slate and pebbles and wet shells
  And sea-weed fastened to the rocks.

  It was evil--evil
  When they found you--
  When the quiet men looked at you.
  They sought a headland,
  Shaded with ledge of cliff
  From the wind-blast.

  But you--you are unsheltered--
  Cut with the weight of wind.
  You shudder when it strikes,
  Then lift, swelled with the blast.
  You sink as the tide sinks.
  You shrill under the hail, and sound
  Thunder when thunder sounds.

  You are useless.
  When the tides swirl,
  Your boulders cut and wreck
  The staggering ships.


II

  You are useless,
  O grave, O beautiful.
  The landsmen tell it--I have heard
  You are useless.

  And the wind sounds with this
  And the sea,
  Where rollers shot with blue
  Cut under deeper blue.

  O but stay tender, enchanted,
  Where wave-lengths cut you
  Apart from all the rest.
  For we have found you.
  We watch the splendour of you.
  We thread throat on throat of freesia
  For your shelf.

  You are not forgot,
  O plunder of lilies--
  Honey is not more sweet
  Than the salt stretch of your beach.


III

  Stay--stay--
  But terror has caught us now.
  We passed the men in ships.
  We dared deeper than the fisher-folk,
  And you strike us with terror,
  O bright shaft.

  Flame passes under us,
  And sparks that unknot the flesh,
  Sorrow, splitting bone from bone--
  Splendour athwart our eyes,
  And rifts in the splendour--
  Sparks and scattered light.

  Many warned of this.
  Men said:
  There are wrecks on the fore-beach.
  Wind will beat your ship.
  There is no shelter in that headland.
  It is useless waste, that edge,
  That front of rock.
  Sea-gulls clang beyond the breakers--
  None venture to that spot.


IV

  But hail--
  As the tide slackens,
  As the wind beats out,
  We hail this shore.
  We sing to you,
  Spirit between the headlands
  And the further rocks.

  Though oak-beams split,
  Though boats and sea-men flounder,
  And the strait grind sand with sand
  And cut boulders to sand and drift--

  Your eyes have pardoned our faults.
  Your hands have touched us.
  You have leaned forward a little
  And the waves can never thrust us back
  From the splendour of your ragged coast.



TEMPLE--THE CLIFF


I

  Great, bright portal,
  Shelf of rock,
  Rocks fitted in long ledges,
  Rocks fitted to dark, to silver-granite,
  To lighter rock--
  Clean cut, white against white.

  High--high--and no hill-goat
  Tramples--no mountain-sheep
  Has set foot on your fine grass.
  You lift, you are the world-edge,
  Pillar for the sky-arch.

  The world heaved--
  We are next to the sky.
  Over us, sea-hawks shout,
  Gulls sweep past.
  The terrible breakers are silent
  From this place.

  Below us, on the rock-edge,
  Where earth is caught in the fissures
  Of the jagged cliff,
  A small tree stiffens in the gale,
  It bends--but its white flowers
  Are fragrant at this height.

  And under and under,
  The wind booms.
  It whistles, it thunders,
  It growls--it presses the grass
  Beneath its great feet.


II

  I said:
  Forever and forever must I follow you
  Through the stones?
  I catch at you--you lurch.
  You are quicker than my hand-grasp.

  I wondered at you.
  I shouted--dear--mysterious--beautiful--
  White myrtle-flesh.

  I was splintered and torn.
  The hill-path mounted
  Swifter than my feet.

  Could a dæmon avenge this hurt,
  I would cry to him--could a ghost,
  I would shout--O evil,
  Follow this god,
  Taunt him with his evil and his vice.


III

  Shall I hurl myself from here,
  Shall I leap and be nearer you?
  Shall I drop, beloved, beloved,
  Ankle against ankle?
  Would you pity me, O white breast?

  If I woke, would you pity me,
  Would our eyes meet?

  Have you heard,
  Do you know how I climbed this rock?
  My breath caught, I lurched forward--
  I stumbled in the ground-myrtle.

  Have you heard, O god seated on the cliff,
  How far toward the ledges of your house,
  How far I had to walk?


IV

  Over me the wind swirls.
  I have stood on your portal
  And I know--
  You are further than this,
  Still further on another cliff.



MID-DAY


  The light beats upon me.
  I am startled--
  A split leaf crackles on the paved floor--
  I am anguished--defeated.

  A slight wind shakes the seed-pods.
  My thoughts are spent
  As the black seeds.
  My thoughts tear me.
  I dread their fever--
  I am scattered in its whirl.
  I am scattered like
  The hot shrivelled seeds.

  The shrivelled seeds
  Are spilt on the path.
  The grass bends with dust.
  The grape slips
  Under its crackled leaf:
  Yet far beyond the spent seed-pods,
  And the blackened stalks of mint,
  The poplar is bright on the hill,
  The poplar spreads out,
  Deep-rooted among trees.

  O poplar, you are great
  Among the hill-stones,
  While I perish on the path
  Among the crevices of the rocks.



JOHN GOULD FLETCHER



ARIZONA


THE WINDMILLS

  The windmills, like great sunflowers of steel,
  Lift themselves proudly over the straggling houses;
  And at their feet the deep blue-green alfalfa
  Cuts the desert like the stroke of a sword.

  Yellow melon flowers
  Crawl beneath the withered peach-trees;
  A date-palm throws its heavy fronds of steel
  Against the scoured metallic sky.

  The houses, doubled-roofed for coolness,
  Cower amid the manzanita scrub.
  A man with jingling spurs
  Walks heavily out of a vine-bowered doorway,
  Mounts his pony, rides away.

  The windmills stare at the sun.
  The yellow earth cracks and blisters.
  Everything is still.

  In the afternoon
  The wind takes dry waves of heat and tosses them,
  Mingled with dust, up and down the streets,
  Against the belfry with its green bells:

  And, after sunset, when the sky
  Becomes a green and orange fan,
  The windmills, like great sunflowers on dried stalks,
  Stare hard at the sun they cannot follow.

  Turning, turning, forever turning
  In the chill night-wind that sweeps over the valley,
  With the shriek and the clank of the pumps groaning beneath them,
  And the choking gurgle of tepid water.


MEXICAN QUARTER

  By an alley lined with tumble-down shacks
  And street-lamps askew, half-sputtering,
  Feebly glimmering on gutters choked with filth and dogs
  Scratching their mangy backs:
  Half-naked children are running about,
  Women puff cigarettes in black doorways,
  Crickets are crying.
  Men slouch sullenly
  Into the shadows:
  Behind a hedge of cactus,
  The smell of a dead horse
  Mingles with the smell of tamales frying.

  And a girl in a black lace shawl
  Sits in a rickety chair by the square of an unglazed window,
  And sees the explosion of the stars
  Softly poised on a velvet sky.
  And she is humming to herself:--
  “Stars, if I could reach you,
  (You are so very clear that it seems as if I could reach you)
  I would give you all to Madonna's image,
  On the grey-plastered altar behind the paper flowers,
  So that Juan would come back to me,
  And we could live again those lazy burning hours
  Forgetting the tap of my fan and my sharp words.
  And I would only keep four of you,
  Those two blue-white ones overhead,
  To hang in my ears;
  And those two orange ones yonder,
  To fasten on my shoe-buckles.”

  A little further along the street
  A man sits stringing a brown guitar.
  The smoke of his cigarette curls round his head,
  And he, too, is humming, but other words:
  “Think not that at your window I wait;
  New love is better, the old is turned to hate.
  Fate! Fate! All things pass away;
  Life is forever, youth is for a day.
  Love again if you may
  Before the stars are blown out of the sky
  And the crickets die;
  Babylon and Samarkand
  Are mud walls in a waste of sand.”


RAIN IN THE DESERT

  The huge red-buttressed mesa over yonder
  Is merely a far-off temple where the sleepy sun is burning
  Its altar-fires of pinyon and of toyon for the day.

  The old priests sleep, white-shrouded,
  Their pottery whistles lie beside them, the prayer-sticks closely
      feathered;
  On every mummied face there glows a smile.

  The sun is rolling slowly
  Beneath the sluggish folds of the sky-serpents,
  Coiling, uncoiling, blue-black, sparked with fires.

  The old dead priests
  Feel in the thin dried earth that is heaped about them,
  Above the smell of scorching oozing pinyon,
  The acrid smell of rain.

  And now the showers
  Surround the mesa like a troop of silver dancers:
  Shaking their rattles, stamping, chanting, roaring,
  Whirling, extinguishing the last red wisp of light.


CLOUDS ACROSS THE CANYON

  Shadows of clouds
  March across the canyon,
  Shadows of blue hands passing
  Over a curtain of flame.

  Clutching, staggering, upstriking,
  Darting in blue-black fury,
  To where pinnacles, green and orange,
  Await.

  The winds are battling and striving to break them:
  Thin lightnings spit and flicker,
  The peaks seem a dance of scarlet demons
  Flitting amid the shadows.

  Grey rain-curtains wave afar off,
  Wisps of vapour curl and vanish.
  The sun throws soft shafts of golden light
  Over rose-buttressed palisades.

  Now the clouds are a lazy procession;
  Blue balloons bobbing solemnly
  Over black-dappled walls,

  Where rise sharp-fretted, golden-roofed cathedrals
  Exultantly, and split the sky with light.



THE UNQUIET STREET


  By day and night this street is not still:
  Omnibuses with red tail-lamps,
  Taxicabs with shiny eyes,
  Rumble, shunning its ugliness.
  It is corrugated with wheel-ruts,
  It is dented and pockmarked with traffic,
  It has no time for sleep.
  It heaves its old scarred countenance
  Skyward between the buildings
  And never says a word.

  On rainy nights
  It dully gleams
  Like the cold tarnished scales of a snake:
  And over it hang arc-lamps,
  Blue-white death-lilies on black stems.



IN THE THEATRE


  Darkness in the theatre:
  Darkness and a multitude
  Assembled in the darkness.
  These who every day perform
  The unique tragi-comedy
  Of birth and death;
  Now press upon each other,
  Directing the irresistible weight of their thoughts to the stage.

  A great broad shaft of calcium light
  Cleaves, like a stroke of a sword, the darkness:
  And, at the end of it,
  A tiny spot which is the red nose of a comedian
  Marks the goal of the spot-light and the eyes which people the
      darkness.



SHIPS IN THE HARBOUR


  Like a flock of great blue cranes
  Resting upon the water,
  The ships assemble at morning, when the grey light wakes in the
      east.

  Weary, no longer flying,
  Over the hissing spindrift, through the ravelled clutching sea;
  No longer over the tops of the waves spinning along north-eastward,
  In a great irregular wedge before the trade-wind far from land.

  But drowsy, mournful, silent,
  Yet under their bulged projecting bows runs the silver foam of the
      sunlight,
  And rebelliously they shake out their plumage of sails, wet and
      heavy with the rain.



THE EMPTY HOUSE


  Out from my window-sill I lean,
  And see a straight four-storied row
  Of houses.

  Once, long ago,
  These had their glory: they were built
  In the fair palmy days before
  The Civil War when all the seas
  Saw the white sails of Yankee ships
  Scurrying home with spice and gold.
  And many of these houses hung
  Proud wisps of crêpe upon their doors
  On hearing that some son had died
  At Chancellorsville or Fredericksburg,
  Their offering to the Union side.

  But man's forever drifting will
  Again took hold of him--again
  The fashionable quarter shifted: soon,
  Before some plastering had dried,
  Society packed up, went away.
  Now, could you see these houses,
  You would not think they ever had a prime:
  A grim four-storied serried row
  Of rooms to let--at any time
  Tenants are moving in or out.
  Families drifting down or struggling still
  To keep their heads up and not drown.
  A tragic busy pettiness
  Has settled on them all,
  But one.
  And in that one, when I came here,
  A family lived, but with its trunks packed up,
  And now that family's gone.

  Its shutterless blindless windows let you look inside
  And see the sunlight chequering the bare floor
  With patterns from the window-frames
  All day.
  Its backyard neatly swept,
  Contains no crammed ash-barrels and no lines
  For clothes to flap about on;
  It does not look by day as if it had
  Ever a living soul beneath its roof.
  It seems to mark a gap in the grim line,
  No house at all, but an unfinished shell.

  But when the windows up and down those faces
  With yellow glimmer of gas, blaze forth;
  I know it is the only house that lives
  In all that grim four-storied row.
  The others are mere shelves, overcrowded layers,
  Of warring, separate personalities;
  A jangle and a tangle of emotions,
  Without a single meaning running through them;
  But it, the empty house, has mastered all its secrets.
  Behind its silent swarthy face,
  Eyelessly proud,
  It watches, it is master;
  It sees the other houses still incessantly learning
  The lesson it remembers,
  And which it can repeat the last dim syllable of.



THE SKATERS

_To A. D. R._


  Black swallows swooping or gliding
  In a flurry of entangled loops and curves;
  The skaters skim over the frozen river.
  And the grinding click of their skates as they impinge upon the
      surface,
  Is like the brushing together of thin wing-tips of silver.



F. S. FLINT



EASTER


  Friend
  we will take the path that leads
  down from the flagstaff by the pond
  through the gorse thickets;
  see, the golden spikes have thrust their points through,
  and last year's bracken lies yellow-brown and trampled.
  The sapling birch-groves have shown no leaf,
  and the wistarias on the desolate pergola
  are shorn and ashen.
  We lurch on, and, stumbling,
  touch each other.
  You do not shrink, friend.
  There you, and I here,
  side by side, we go, jesting.
  We do not seek, we do not avoid, contact.

  Here is the road,
  with the budding elm-trees lining it,
  and there the low gate in the wall;
  on the other side, the people.
  Are they not aliens?
  You and I for a moment see them
  shabby of limb and soul,
  patched up to make shift.
  We laugh and strengthen each other;
  But the evil is done.

  Is not the whole park made for them,
  and the bushes and plants and trees and grasses,
  have they not grown to their standard?
  The paths are worn to the gravel with their feet;
  the green moss will not carpet them.
  The flags of the stone steps are hollowed;
  and you and I must strive to remain two
  and not to merge in the multitude.
  It impinges on us; it separates us;
  we shrink from it; we brave through it;
  we laugh; we jest; we jeer;
  and we save the fragments of our souls.

  Between two clipped privet hedges now;
  we will close our eyes for life's sake
  to life's patches.
  Here, maybe, there is quiet;
  pass first under the bare branches,
  beyond is a pool flanked with sedge,
  and a swan among water-lilies.
  But here too is a group
  of men and women and children;
  and the swan has forgotten its pride;
  it thrusts its white neck among them,
  and gobbles at nothing;
  then tires of the cheat and sails off;
  but its breast urges before it
  a sheet of sodden newspaper
  that, drifting away,
  reveals beneath the immaculate white splendour
  of its neck and wings
  a breast black with scum.

  Friend, we are beaten.



OGRE


  Through the open window can be seen
  the poplars at the end of the garden
  shaking in the wind,
  a wall of green leaves so high
  that the sky is shut off.

  On the white table-cloth
  a rose in a vase
  --centre of a sphere of odour--
  contemplates the crumbs and crusts
  left from a meal:
  cups, saucers, plates lie
  here and there.

  And a sparrow flies by the open window,
  stops for a moment,
  flutters his wings rapidly,
  and climbs an aerial ladder
  with his claws
  that work close in
  to his soft, brown-grey belly.

  But behind the table is the face of a man.

  The bird flies off.



CONES


  The blue mist of after-rain
  fills all the trees;

  the sunlight gilds the tops
  of the poplar spires, far off,
  behind the houses.

  Here a branch sways
  and there
            a sparrow twitters.

  The curtain's hem, rose-embroidered,
  flutters, and half reveals
  a burnt-red chimney pot.

  The quiet in the room
  bears patiently
  a footfall on the street.



GLOOM


  I sat there in the dark
  of the room and of my mind
  thinking of men's treasons and bad faith,
  sinking into the pit of my own weakness
  before their strength of cunning.
  Out over the gardens came the sound of some one
  playing five-finger exercises on the piano.

  Then
  I gathered up within me all my powers
  until outside of me was nothing:
  I was all--
  all stubborn, fighting sadness and revulsion.

  And one came from the garden quietly,
  and stood beside me.
  She laid her hand on my hair;
  she laid her cheek on my forehead,--
  and caressed me with it;
  but all my being rose to my forehead
  to fight against this outside thing.
  Something in me became angry;
  withstood like a wall,
  and would allow no entrance;
  I hated her.

  “What is the matter with you, dear?” she said.
  “Nothing,” I answered,
  “I am thinking.”
  She stroked my hair and went away;
  and I was still gloomy, angry, stubborn.

  Then I thought:
  she has gone away; she is hurt;
  she does not know
  what poison has been working in me.

  Then I thought:
  upstairs, her child is sleeping;
  and I felt the presence
  of the fields we had walked over, the roads we had followed,
  the flowers we had watched together,
  before it came.

  She had touched my hair, and only then did I feel it;
  And I loved her once again.

  And I came away,
  full of the sweet and bitter juices of life;
  and I lit the lamp in my room,
  and made this poem.



TERROR


  Eyes are tired;
  the lamp burns,
  and in its circle of light
  papers and books lie
  where chance and life
  have placed them.

  Silence sings all around me;
  my head is bound with a band;
  outside in the street a few footsteps;
  a clock strikes the hour.

  I gaze, and my eyes close,
  slowly:

  I doze; but the moment before sleep,
  a voice calls my name
  in my ear,
  and the shock jolts my heart:
  but when I open my eyes,
  and look, first left, and then right ...

  no one is there.



CHALFONT SAINT GILES


  The low graves are all grown over
  with forget-me-not,
  and a rich-green grass
  links each with each.
  Old family vaults,
  some within railings,
  stand here and there,
  crumbling, moss-eaten,
  with the ivy growing up them
  and diagonally across
  the top projecting slab.
  And over the vaults
  lean the great lilac bushes
  with their heart-shaped leaves
  and their purple and white blossom.
  A wall of ivy shuts off the darkness
  of the elm-wood and the larches.

  Walk quietly
  along the mossy paths;
  the stones of the humble dead
  are hidden behind the blue mantle
  of their forget-me-nots;
  and before one grave so hidden
  a widow kneels, with head bowed,
  and the crape falling
  over her shoulders.

  The bells for evening church are ringing,
  and the people come gravely
  and with red, sun-burnt faces
  through the gates in the wall.

  Pass on;
  this is the church-porch,
  and within the bell-ringers,
  men of the village in their Sunday clothes,
  pull their bob-major
  on the red and white grip
  of the bell-ropes, that fly up,
  and then fall snakily.
  They stand there given wholly
  to the rhythm and swing
  of their traditional movements.

  And the people pass between them
  into the church;
  but we are too sad and too reverent
  to enter.



WAR-TIME


  If I go out of the door,
  it will not be
  to take the road to the left that leads
  past the bovine quiet of houses
  brooding over the cud of their daily content,
  even though
  the tranquillity of their gardens
  is a lure that once was stronger;
  even though
  from privet hedge and mottled laurel
  the young green peeps,
  and the daffodils
  and the yellow and white and purple crocuses
  laugh from the smooth mould
  of the garden beds
  to the upright golden buds of the chestnut trees.
  I shall not see
  the almond blossom shaming
  the soot-black boughs.

  But to the right the road will lead me
  to greater and greater disquiet;
  into the swift rattling noise of the motor-'busses,
  and the dust, the tattered paper--
  the detritus of a city--
  that swirls in the air behind them.
  I will pass the shops where the prices
  are judged day by day by the people,
  and come to the place where five roads meet
  with five tram-routes,
  and where amid the din
  of the vans, the lorries, the motor-'busses,
  the clangorous tram-cars,
  the news is shouted,
  and soldiers gather, off-duty.

  Here I can feel the heat of Europe's fever;
  and I can make,
  as each man makes the beauty of the woman he loves,
  no spring and no woman's beauty,
  while that is burning.



D. H. LAWRENCE



ERINNYES


  There has been so much noise,
  Bleeding and shouting and dying,
  Clamour of death.

  There are so many dead,
  Many have died unconsenting,
  Their ghosts are angry, unappeased.

  So many ghosts among us,
  Invisible, yet strong,
  Between me and thee, so many ghosts of the slain.

  They come back, over the white sea, in the mist,
  Invisible, trooping home, the unassuaged ghosts
  Endlessly returning on the uneasy sea.

  They set foot on this land to which they have the right,
  They return relentlessly, in the silence one knows their tread,
  Multitudinous, endless, the ghosts coming home again.

  They watch us, they press on us,
  They press their claim upon us,
  They are angry with us.

  What do they want?
  We are driven mad,
  Madly we rush hither and thither:
  Shouting, “Revenge, Revenge,”
  Crying, “Pour out the blood of the foe,”
  Seeking to appease with blood the insistent ghosts.

  Out of blood rise up new ghosts,
  Grey, stern, angry, unsatisfied,
  The more we slay and are slain, the more we raise up new ghosts
      against us.

  Till we are mad with terror, seeing the slain
  Victorious, grey, grisly ghosts in our streets,
  Grey, unappeased ghosts seated in the music-halls.
  The dead triumphant, and the quick cast down,
  The dead, unassuaged and angry, silencing us,
  Making us pale and bloodless, without resistance.

     *     *     *     *     *

  What do they want, the ghosts, what is it
  They demand as they stand in menace over against us?
  How shall we now appease whom we have raised up?

  Since from blood poured out rise only ghosts again,
  What shall we do, what shall we give to them?
  What do they want, forever there on our threshold?

  Must we open the doors, and admit them, receive them home,
  And in the silence, reverently, welcome them,
  And give them place and honour and service meet?

  For one year's space, attend on our angry dead,
  Soothe them with service and honour, and silence meet,
  Strengthen, prepare them for the journey hence,
  Then lead them to the gates of the unknown,
  And bid farewell, oh stately travellers,
  And wait till they are lost upon our sight.

  Then we shall turn us home again to life
  Knowing our dead are fitly housed in death,
  Not roaming here disconsolate, angrily.

  And we shall have new peace in this our life,
  New joy to give more life, new bliss to live,
  Sure of our dead in the proud halls of death.



PERFIDY


  Hollow rang the house when I knocked at the door,
  And I lingered on the threshold with my hand
  Upraised to knock and knock once more:
  Listening for the sound of her feet across the floor,
  Hollow re-echoed my heart.

  The low-hung lamps stretched down the road
  With shadows drifting underneath,
  With a music of soft, melodious feet
  Quickening my hope as I hastened to meet
  The low-hung light of her eyes.

  The golden lamps down the street went out,
  The last car trailed the night behind,
  And I in the darkness wandered about
  With a flutter of hope and of dark-shut doubt
  In the dying lamp of my love.

  Two brown ponies trotting slowly
  Stopped at the dim-lit trough to drink.
  The dark van drummed down the distance slowly,
  And city stars so high and holy
  Drew nearer to look in the streets.

  A hasting car swept shameful past.
  I saw her hid in the shadow,
  I saw her step to the curb, and fast
  Run to the silent door, where last
  I had stood with my hand uplifted.
  She clung to the door in her haste to enter,
  Entered, and quickly cast
  It shut behind her, leaving the street aghast.



AT THE WINDOW


  The pine trees bend to listen to the autumn wind as it mutters
  Something which sets the black poplars ashake with hysterical
      laughter;
  While slowly the house of day is closing its eastern shutters.

  Further down the valley the clustered tombstones recede
  Winding about their dimness the mists' grey cerements, after
  The street-lamps in the twilight have suddenly started to bleed.

  The leaves fly over the window and whisper a word as they pass
  To the face that leans from the darkness, intent, with two eyes of
      darkness
  That watch forever earnestly from behind the window glass.



IN TROUBLE AND SHAME


        I look at the swaling sunset
        And wish I could go also
  Through the red doors beyond the black-purple bar.

        I wish that I could go
  Through the red doors where I could put off
        My shame like shoes in the porch
        My pain like garments,
        And leave my flesh discarded lying
        Like luggage of some departed traveller
        Gone one knows not where.

        Then I would turn round
  And seeing my cast-off body lying like lumber,
        I would laugh with joy.



BROODING GRIEF


  A yellow leaf from the darkness
  Hops like a frog before me--
  --Why should I start and stand still?

  I was watching the woman that bore me
  Stretched in the brindled darkness
  Of the sick-room, rigid with will
  To die--
  And the quick leaf tore me
  Back to this rainy swill
  Of leaves and lamps and traffic mingled before me.



AMY LOWELL



PATTERNS


  I walk down the garden paths,
  And all the daffodils
  Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
  I walk down the patterned garden paths
  In my stiff, brocaded gown.
  With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,
  I too am a rare
  Pattern. As I wander down
  The garden paths.

  My dress is richly figured,
  And the train
  Makes a pink and silver stain
  On the gravel, and the thrift
  Of the borders.
  Just a plate of current fashion,
  Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
  Not a softness anywhere about me,
  Only whale-bone and brocade.
  And I sink on a seat in the shade
  Of a lime tree. For my passion
  Wars against the stiff brocade.
  The daffodils and squills
  Flutter in the breeze
  As they please.
  And I weep;
  For the lime tree is in blossom
  And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

  And the plashing of waterdrops
  In the marble fountain
  Comes down the garden paths.
  The dripping never stops.
  Underneath my stiffened gown
  Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
  A basin in the midst of hedges grown
  So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
  But she guesses he is near,
  And the sliding of the water
  Seems the stroking of a dear
  Hand upon her.
  What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
  I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
  All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

  I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
  And he would stumble after
  Bewildered by my laughter.
  I should see the sun flashing from his sword hilt and the buckles
      on his shoes.
  I would choose
  To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
  A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover,
  Till he caught me in the shade,
  And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
  Aching, melting, unafraid.
  With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
  And the plopping of the waterdrops,
  All about us in the open afternoon--
  I am very like to swoon
  With the weight of this brocade,
  For the sun sifts through the shade.

  Underneath the fallen blossom
  In my bosom,
  Is a letter I have hid.
  It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
  “Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
  Died in action Thursday sen'night.”
  As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
  The letters squirmed like snakes.
  “Any answer, Madam,” said my footman.
  “No,” I told him.
  “See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
  No, no answer.”
  And I walked into the garden,
  Up and down the patterned paths,
  In my stiff, correct brocade.
  The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
  Each one.
  I stood upright too,
  Held rigid to the pattern
  By the stiffness of my gown.
  Up and down I walked,
  Up and down.

  In a month he would have been my husband.
  In a month, here, underneath this lime,
  We would have broke the pattern.
  He for me, and I for him,
  He as Colonel, I as Lady,
  On this shady seat.
  He had a whim
  That sunlight carried blessing.
  And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”
  Now he is dead.

  In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
  Up and down
  The patterned garden paths
  In my stiff, brocaded gown.
  The squills and daffodils
  Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
  I shall go
  Up and down,
  In my gown.
  Gorgeously arrayed,
  Boned and stayed.
  And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
  By each button, hook, and lace.
  For the man who should loose me is dead,
  Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
  In a pattern called a war.
  Christ! What are patterns for?



SPRING DAY


BATH

The day is fresh-washed and fair, and there is a smell of tulips and
narcissus in the air.

The sunshine pours in at the bath-room window and bores through the
water in the bath-tub in lathes and planes of greenish white. It
cleaves the water into flaws like a jewel, and cracks it to bright
light.

Little spots of sunshine lie on the surface of the water and dance,
dance, and their reflections wobble deliciously over the ceiling; a
stir of my finger sets them whirring, reeling. I move a foot and the
planes of light in the water jar. I lie back and laugh, and let the
green-white water, the sun-flawed beryl water, flow over me. The day
is almost too bright to bear, the green water covers me from the too
bright day. I will lie here awhile and play with the water and the
sun spots.

The sky is blue and high. A crow flaps by the window, and there is a
whirl of tulips and narcissus in the air.


BREAKFAST TABLE

In the fresh-washed sunlight, the breakfast table is decked and
white. It offers itself in flat surrender, tendering tastes, and
smells, and colours, and metals, and grains, and the white cloth
falls over its side, draped and wide. Wheels of white glitter in the
silver coffee pot, hot and spinning like catherine-wheels, they
whirl, and twirl--and my eyes begin to smart, the little white,
dazzling wheels prick them like darts. Placid and peaceful the rolls
of bread spread themselves in the sun to bask. A stack of
butter-pats, pyramidal, shout orange through the white, scream,
flutter, call: “Yellow! Yellow! Yellow!” Coffee steam rises in a
stream, clouds the silver tea-service with mist, and twists up into
the sunlight, revolved, involuted, suspiring higher and higher,
fluting in a thin spiral up the high blue sky. A crow flies by and
croaks at the coffee steam. The day is new and fair with good smells
in the air.


WALK

Over the street the white clouds meet, and sheer away without
touching.

On the sidewalk boys are playing marbles. Glass marbles, with amber
and blue hearts, roll together and part with a sweet clashing noise.
The boys strike them with black and red striped agates. The glass
marbles spit crimson when they are hit, and slip into the gutters
under rushing brown water. I smell tulips and narcissus in the air,
but there are no flowers anywhere, only white dust whipping up the
street, and a girl with a gay spring hat and blowing skirts. The dust
and the wind flirt at her ankles and her neat, high-heeled patent
leather shoes. Tap, tap, the little heels pat the pavement, and the
wind rustles among the flowers on her hat.

A water-cart crawls slowly on the other side of the way. It is green
and gay with new paint, and rumbles contentedly sprinkling clear
water over the white dust. Clear zig-zagging water which smells of
tulips and narcissus.

The thickening branches make a pink “grisaille” against the blue sky.

Whoop! The clouds go dashing at each other and sheer away just in
time. Whoop! And a man's hat careers down the street in front of the
white dust, leaps into the branches of a tree, veers away and
trundles ahead of the wind, jarring the sunlight into spokes of
rose-colour and green.

A motor car cuts a swath through the bright air, sharp-beaked,
irresistible, shouting to the wind to make way. A glare of dust and
sunshine tosses together behind it, and settles down. The sky is
quiet and high, and the morning is fair with fresh-washed air.


MIDDAY AND AFTERNOON

Swirl of crowded streets. Shock and recoil of traffic. The
stock-still brick façade of an old church, against which the waves of
people lurch and withdraw. Flare of sunshine down side-streets.
Eddies of light in the windows of chemists' shops, with their blue,
gold, purple jars, darting colours far into the crowd. Loud bangs and
tremors, murmurings out of high windows, whirling of machine belts,
blurring of horses and motors. A quick spin and shudder of brakes on
an electric car, and the jar of a church bell knocking against the
metal blue of the sky. I am a piece of the town, a bit of blown dust,
thrust along with the crowd. Proud to feel the pavement under me,
reeling with feet. Feet tripping, skipping, lagging, dragging,
plodding doggedly, or springing up and advancing on firm elastic
insteps. A boy is selling papers, I smell them clean and new from the
press. They are fresh like the air, and pungent as tulips and
narcissus.

The blue sky pales to lemon, and great tongues of gold blind the
shop-windows putting out their contents in a flood of flame.


NIGHT AND SLEEP

The day takes her ease in slippered yellow. Electric signs gleam out
along the shop fronts, following each other. They grow, and grow, and
blow into patterns of fire-flowers, as the sky fades. Trades scream
in spots of light at the unruffled night. Twinkle, jab, snap, that
means a new play; and over the way: plop, drop, quiver is the
sidelong sliver of a watch-maker's sign with its length on another
street. A gigantic mug of beer effervesces to the atmosphere over a
tall building, but the sky is high and has her own stars, why should
she heed ours?

I leave the city with speed. Wheels whirl to take me back to my trees
and my quietness. The breeze which blows with me is fresh-washed and
clean, it has come but recently from the high sky. There are no
flowers in bloom yet, but the earth of my garden smells of tulips and
narcissus.

My room is tranquil and friendly. Out of the window I can see the
distant city, a band of twinkling gems, little flower heads with no
stems. I cannot see the beer glass, nor the letters of the
restaurants and shops I passed, now the signs blur and all together
make the city, glowing on a night of fine weather, like a garden
stirring and blowing for the Spring.

The night is fresh-washed and fair and there is a whiff of flowers in
the air.

Wrap me close, sheets of lavender. Pour your blue and purple dreams
into my ears. The breeze whispers at the shutters and mutters queer
tales of old days, and cobbled streets, and youths leaping their
horses down marble stairways. Pale blue lavender, you are the colour
of the sky when it is fresh-washed and fair ... I smell the stars ...
they are like tulips and narcissus ... I smell them in the air.



STRAVINSKY'S THREE PIECES, “GROTESQUES” FOR STRING QUARTET


    This Quartet was played from the manuscript by the Flonzaley
    Quartet during their season of 1915 and 1916. The poem is based
    upon the programme which M. Stravinsky appended to his piece, and
    is an attempt to reproduce the sound and movement of the music as
    far as is possible in another medium.


FIRST MOVEMENT

  Thin-voiced, nasal pipes
  Drawing sound out and out
  Until it is a screeching thread,
  Sharp and cutting, sharp and cutting,
  It hurts.
  Whee-e-e!
  Bump! Bump! Tong-ti-bump!
  There are drums here,
  Banging,
  And wooden shoes beating the round, grey stones
  Of the market-place.
  Whee-e-e!
  Sabots slapping the worn, old stones,
  And a shaking and cracking of dancing bones,
  Clumsy and hard they are,
  And uneven,
  Losing half a beat
  Because the stones are slippery.
  Bump-e-ty-tong! Whee-e-e! Tong!
  The thin Spring leaves
  Shake to the banging of shoes.
  Shoes beat, slap,
  Shuffle, rap,
  And the nasal pipes squeal with their pigs' voices,
  Little pigs' voices
  Weaving among the dancers,
  A fine, white thread
  Linking up the dancers.
  Bang! Bump! Tong!
  Petticoats,
  Stockings,
  Sabots,
  Delirium flapping its thigh-bones;
  Red, blue, yellow,
  Drunkenness steaming in colours;
  Red, yellow, blue,
  Colours and flesh weaving together,
  In and out, with the dance,
  Coarse stuffs and hot flesh weaving together.
  Pigs' cries white and tenuous,
  White and painful,
  White and--
  Bump!
  Tong!


SECOND MOVEMENT

  Pale violin music whiffs across the moon,
  A pale smoke of violin music blows over the moon,
  Cherry petals fall and flutter,
  And the white Pierrot,
  Wreathed in the smoke of the violins,
  Splashed with cherry petals falling, falling,
  Claws a grave for himself in the fresh earth
  With his finger-nails.


THIRD MOVEMENT

  An organ growls in the heavy roof-groins of a church,
  It wheezes and coughs.
  The nave is blue with incense,
  Writhing, twisting,
  Snaking over the heads of the chanting priests.
          _Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine;_
  The priests whine their bastard Latin
  And the censers swing and click.
  The priests walk endlessly
  Round and round,
  Droning their Latin
  Off the key.
  The organ crashes out in a flaring chord
  And the priests hitch their chant up half a tone.
          _Dies illa, dies iræ,_
          _Calamitatis et miseriæ,_
          _Dies magna et amara valde._
  A wind rattles the leaded windows.
  The little pear-shaped candle-flames leap and flutter.
          _Dies illa, dies iræ,_
  The swaying smoke drifts over the altar.
          _Calamitatis et miseriæ,_
  The shuffling priests sprinkle holy water.
          _Dies magna et amara valde._
  And there is a stark stillness in the midst of them,
  Stretched upon a bier.
  His ears are stone to the organ,
  His eyes are flint to the candles,
  His body is ice to the water.
  Chant, priests,
  Whine, shuffle, genuflect.
  He will always be as rigid as he is now
  Until he crumbles away in a dust heap.
          _Lacrymosa dies illa,_
          _Qua resurget ex favilla_
          _Judicandus homo reus._
  Above the grey pillars, the roof is in darkness.



  THE END



BIBLIOGRAPHY


  RICHARD ALDINGTON
    _Images._ Poetry Book Shop, London, 1915; and The Four Seas
      Company, Boston, 1916.

  JOHN GOULD FLETCHER
    _Fire and Wine._ Grant Richards, Ltd., London, 1913.
    _Fool's Gold._ Max Goschen, London, 1913.
    _The Dominant City._ Max Goschen, London, 1913.
    _The Book of Nature._ Constable & Co., London, 1913.
    _Visions of the Evening._ Erskine McDonald, London, 1913.
    _Irradiations: Sand and Spray._ Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston,
      1915.
    _Goblins and Pagodas._ Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1916.

  F. S. FLINT
    _The Net of Stars._ Elkin Mathews, London, 1909.
    _Cadences._ Poetry Book Shop, London, 1915.

  D. H. LAWRENCE
    _Love Poems and Others._ Duckworth & Co., London, 1913.
    Prose: _The White Peacock._ William Heinemann, London, 1911.
           _The Trespasser._ Duckworth & Co., London, 1912.
           _Sons and Lovers._ Duckworth & Co., London, 1913.
           _The Prussian Officer._ Duckworth & Co., London, 1914.
           _The Rainbow._ Methuen & Co., London, 1915.
    Drama: _The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd._ Mitchell Kennerley, New
      York, 1914.

  AMY LOWELL
    _A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass._ Houghton Mifflin Company,
      Boston, 1912. The Macmillan Company, New York, 1915.
    _Sword Blades and Poppy Seed._ The Macmillan Company, New York;
      and Macmillan & Co., London, 1914.
    Prose: _Six French Poets._ The Macmillan Company, New York; and
      Macmillan and Co., London, 1915.



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE


The following printer's errors have been corrected:

  “from” corrected to “form” (page viii)
  “sweeling” corrected to “swaling” (page 73)

The following unusual spellings have been retained:

  “anarchaic” (page vii)

Some of the poems in this anthology were also included in the
following books:

  H. D.
    _Sea Garden._ Constable & Co., London, 1916.

  JOHN GOULD FLETCHER
    _Breakers and Granite._ The Macmillan Company, New York, 1921.

  AMY LOWELL
    _Men, Women and Ghosts._ Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New
      York, 1916.





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