Modern Verse in English, 1900-1950

By David Cecil; Allen Tate | Go to book overview
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He on the western shore of parting
Paused to address them:
"Comrades who have with me
Countless misfortunes endured, O mine!

"Brave friends, banish tonight dark sorrow!
Set the white tables
With garlands, lamps, with wine!
Drink! and, tomorrow, untravelled seas!"

So sailed guileful Odysseus, so sailed
Pious Aeneas,
And cloudless skies brought sleep,
Stilling th' unmasterable, surging deep-

The helmsman stilled, his sea-craft guiding.
O too confiding
In star and wind and wave,
Naked thou liest in an unknown grave!


Laurence Whistler (Br. b. 1912)

No Answer

In the slow lapse of unrecorded afternoon,
When nothing seems to change but history itself
Unfolding at the pace of clouds or even weeds,
The window murmurs lightly to the vacant room,
And seems as if it commented with mild surprise
On some arrival, timely or unique;
Slow by the rapid stream, perhaps, or quick in the slow skies.

Why does the window murmur-and to whom?
What notable event does it report
That's far above the heads of furniture,
Nor heeded by the absent-minded room?

-553-

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Modern Verse in English, 1900-1950
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