Modern Verse in English, 1900-1950

By David Cecil; Allen Tate | Go to book overview

His sleepy mouth plugged by the heavy nipple,
Tugs like a puppy, grunting as he feeds:
Through his frail nerves her own deep languors ripple
Like a broad river sighing through its reeds.

Yet in that drowsy stream his flesh imbibes
An old unquenched unsmotherable heat,
The curbed ferocity of beaten tribes,
The sullen dignity of their defeat.

Her body looms above him like a hill
Within whose shade a village lies at rest,
Or the first cloud so terrible and still
That bears the coming harvest in its breast.


On Some South African Novelists

You praise the firm restraint with which they write-
I'm with you there, of course:
They use the snaffle and the curb all right,
But where's the bloody horse?


Brewster Ghiselin (Am. b. 1903)

The Known World

With tiger pace and swinging head,
With gentle tread and turning grace
The walking stripes, the walking stripes
Of the mind stride in their too-little place.

But what if it escaped and walked
In the green city?
There is no city, said the tiger mind.

There is the cage, the absolute bar,
Things as they are, that bind my rage
And wrap my claws, said the turning jaws
And prisoner eyes in their too-little place.

But what if it burst its world and ran
To the snake-green jungle?
There is no jungle, sighed the striped mind.

-469-

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