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Monroe, Harriet

· Harriet Monroe: New-Born · Harriet Monroe: Night In State Street · Harriet Monroe: Titanic Requiem · Harriet Monroe: The Shadow-Child · Harriet Monroe: On The Train · Harriet Monroe: Wings

Harriet Monroe: New-Born

New-Born

She is so wee,
So wise and dear
Her eyes can see,
Her ears can hear,
The flowers that grow
Below the snow,
The birds that peep
In their eggs asleep,
The songs we sing her
No other has heard,
The love we bring her
With never a word.

Harriet Monroe
(1860 – 1936)
New-Born

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Archive M-N, Monroe, Harriet


Harriet Monroe: Night In State Street

Night In State Street

Art thou he?—
The seer and sage, the hero and lover—yea,
The man of men, then away from the haughty day
Come with me!

Ho—ho! to the night—
The spangled night that would the noon outstare.
Her skirts are fringed with light,
She is girdled and crowned with gems of fire that flare.

The city is dizzy with the thrill of her—
Her shining eyes and shadowy floating hair;
And curious winds her nebulous garments blur,
Blowing her moon-white limbs and bosom bare.

She beckons me—
Down the deep street she goes to keep her tryst.
Come—come—oh follow! oh see

The many-windowed walls uprear so high
They dim and quiver and float away in mist
Tangling the earth and sky.
And the pale stars go by
Like spirits masterful and still and strong,
Dragging the heavy nets of life along.

Down in the deep
Lightly the nets enmesh us with the swarm
Of huddled human things that, soft and warm,
Beat out so close the pulses of their lives.
We crowd and creep,
We jostle and push out of our halls and hives,
We chatter and laugh and weep.

Ah, do you hear
The choral of voices, each the secret hiding?
Do you see the warren of souls, each one abiding
In separate solitude, remote, austere?

Here in the glare of the street we cling together
Against the warning darkness, the still height Of the awful night.
We blow like a feather
From hope to hope along the winds of fate
Importunate.

The lettered lights that twinkle in and out
Lure us and laugh at us, beckon and flout,
Flashing their slangy symbols in our eyes,
Blurting their gaudy lies.

The bold shop-windows flaunt their empty wares—
Jewelled or tinselled shows of things,
The fripperies and furnishings
Wherein stark life will stifle her shiverings
Ere forth in the dawn she fares.

Ah, tyranny perilous!
Vain shows that master us!
See the gay girls fluttering wistfully,
Where waxen dummies grin in gowns of lace.
Watch yonder woman in black, whose dimmed eyes see
Soft baby things folded with tender grace.

And look at the children crowding and shouting there
Where dancing dolls jiggle and jerk and stare.
They hover and cling
Possessed by signs and shadows of the thing.

They moor their bark
Close to the shore and fathom not the dark—
The dark that glooms afar
Beyond the invisible star,
Beyond faith’s boundaries,
The plausible was and is.

Come, ye adventurous,
Open your hearts to us!
You tiny newsboy, calling extras there,
Pitiful burden-bearer, pale with blight,
What of the night?—
The sullen night that brings you, little one,
So heavy a load of care,
While happier children sleep from sun to sun?

And you, wan youth, haggard and spent,
By mad thirst driven and rent—
Thirst of the body, thirst of the soul—
To what dark goal
Does reeling night lead you, her listless prey,
To gorge you and slay,
And hide forever from the searching day?

And you, furtive and flaunting girl,
Whose heavy-lidded eyes unfurl
Red signal fires, the while, demure,
Your brooding lips deny their lure—

Ah, does the lewd night lash you to her cave,
And will you never her ribald rage out-brave,
And rise no more forlorn
To greet the morn?

The street grows insolent.
With cries of dark delight
And gestures impudent
It rends the robe of night.
Up to the silent sky
It shouts the human cry.

The crowds push in and out
By all the open ways,
Eager to stare and shout
At vaudeville waifs of plays.
They drop their coins and laugh
At the wheezy phonograph,
They hush for the noisy drone
Of the croaking megaphone.

That litters life with jest
They pause that they may not go
On life’s eternal quest.
They stifle truth with speech,
They mimic love with lust,
For the glitter of gilt they reach
And cover the gold with dust.

They stoop to the din and glare
Who have the lofty night for comrade rare.
They grope along the ground
Whose stature like the night with stars is crowned.

Oh piteous!
Oh struggle vain!
Of puppets emulous,
We strive and strain
To forge for our limbs a chain.

Come, thou deep-hearted Night, so dark and bright !
Come, holy Night, come, lawless, dissolute Night!
Come, human Night, hushing thy dreams divine!
Give me thy dreams, O Night—they shall be mine!—
Mine and this beggar’s, though we lie to thee!
Mine and this harlot’s, though from thee we
flee! Mine and this worldling’s, though with might and right
We hide them from our sight.

Thy shadowed eyes the truth behold, and we—
We too shall know the truth, and so be free!
Even now—yea, now
Through lies and vanities we pry and peer.
Even now we bow
At little shrines where pale fires flicker and fleer.

Hark! in the echoing street
The drums that bang and beat,
Where the curb-stone preachers tell
The way to heaven and hell.

Look! in yon window there
A man through a glass astare
At atoms and embryos,
The source whence all life flows.
Search the beginning and end.

We may not choose but follow—
Yes, you and I and these—
The fume of the noisome hollow,
The gleam of the Pleiades.

Wherever one goes in quest
With his quest we are cursed or blest.
And the street, with its blazing mockery of
noon, Leads on to the quiet stars, to the lofty moon.

The little lights go out now row on row,
The dim crowds glide away.
The shadowed street
Pillars the vaulted sky.

And Night, proud Night,
Rapt in her dreams, with stately tread and slow
Patrols the drowsy world. O friend complete,
How may we read her deep delight aright?

Art thou he—
The seer and sage, the hero and lover—yea,
The man of men, then even to the gates of day
Lead thou me!

Harriet Monroe
(1860 – 1936)
Night In State Street

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Archive M-N, LITERARY MAGAZINES, Monroe, Harriet


Harriet Monroe: Titanic Requiem

Titanic Requiem

Sleep softly in your ocean bed,
You who could grandly die !
Our fathers, who at Shiloh bled,
Accept your company.

O sons of warriors, lightly rest,
Daughters of pioneers!
Heroes freeborn, who chose the best,
No tears for you, but cheers!

Lovers of life, who life could give,
Sleep softly where you lie!
Ours be the vigil—help us live,
Who teach us how to die.

Harriet Monroe
(1860 – 1936)
Titanic Requiem

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Archive M-N, Monroe, Harriet


Harriet Monroe: The Shadow-Child

The Shadow-Child

Why do the wheels go whirring round,
Mother, mother?
Oh, mother, are they giants bound,
And will they growl forever?
Yes, fiery giants underground,
Daughter, little daughter,
Forever turn the wheels around,
And rumble-grumble ever.

Why do I pick the threads all day,
Mother, mother,
While sunshine children are at play?
And must I work forever?
Yes, shadow-child; the live-long day,
Daughter, little daughter,
Your hands must pick the threads away,
And feel the sunshine never.

Why do the birds sing in the sun,
Mother, mother,
If all day long I run and run,
Run with the wheels forever?
The birds may sing till day is done,
Daughter, little daughter,
But with the- wheels your feet must run—
Run with the wheels forever.

Why do I feel so tired each night,
Mother, mother?
The wheels are always buzzing bright;
Do they grow sleepy never?
Oh, baby thing, so soft and white,
Daughter, little daughter,
The big wheels grind us in their might,
And they will grind forever.

And is the white thread never spun,
Mother, mother?
And is the white cloth never done,
For you and me done never?
Oh yes, our thread will all be spun,
Daughter, little daughter,
When we lie down out in the sun,
And work no more forever.

And when will come that happy day,
Mother, mother?
Oh, shall we laugh and sing and play
Out in the sun forever?
Nay, shadow-child, we’ll rest all day,
Daughter, little daughter,
Where green grass grows and roses gay,
There in the sun forever.

Harriet Monroe
(1860 – 1936)
The Shadow-Child

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Archive M-N, Monroe, Harriet


Harriet Monroe: On The Train

On The Train

I

The lady in front of me in the car,
With little red coils close over her ears,
Is talking with her friend;
And the circle of ostrich foam around her hat,
Curving over like a wave,
Trembles with her little windy words.
What she is saying, I wonder,
That her feathers should tremble
And the soft fur of her coat should slip down over her shoulders?
Has her string of pearls been stolen,
Or maybe her husband?

II

He is drunk, that man —
Drunk as a lord, a lord of the bibulous past. [sic]
He shouts wittily from his end of the car to the man in the corner;
He bows to me with chivalrous apologies.
He philosophizes, plays with the wisdom of the ages,
Flings off his rags,
Displays his naked soul —
Athletic, beautiful, grotesque.
In the good time coming,
When men drink no more,
Shall we ever see a nude soul dancing
Stript and free
In the temple of his god?

III

She comes smiling into the car
With irridescent bubbles of children.
She blooms in the close plush seats
Like a narcissus in a bowl of stones.
She croons to a baby in her lap —
The trees come swinging by to listen,
And the electric lights in the ceiling are stars.

Harriet Monroe poetry
(1860 – 1936)
On The Train

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Archive M-N, Monroe, Harriet


Harriet Monroe: Wings

Wings

Pearl-gray is the sky,
And high within it, sailing by,
Three sea-gulls fly.

Pearl-white are they
Against the sky’s obscurer gray—
Sea-foam astray.

Gulls, sea-gulls white,
Drift of the day, drift of the night,
Mine be your flight!

Out—out, with you
Beyond the noise, into the blue!
Ah—if I knew!

Harriet Monroe
(1860 – 1936)
Wings

fleursdumal.nl magazine

More in: Archive M-N, Monroe, Harriet


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