Modern Verse in English, 1900-1950

By David Cecil; Allen Tate | Go to book overview

And of the rivering vessels so and so
Where the shadow of the bridge rakes them once.
The best you can think is that, come there,
A pilot will know what he's done
When his ship is fingered

Like that greek boy whose name I now forget
Whose youth was a long study to cut stone;
One day his mallet slipped, a goddess willing
Who only meant to take his afternoon,
So that the marble opened on a girl
Seated at music and wonderfully fleshed
And sinewed under linen, riffling a harp;
At which he knew not that delight alone
The impatient muse intended, but coupled with it, grief--
The strings in particular were so light--
And put his chisel down for marvelling on that stone.


Reed Whittemore (Am. b. 1919)

An American Takes a Walk

In the middle of this life's journey
He came, like Dante, on a wood
The notes said stood for error
But in his case stood for good,
Where his art and prowess left him
And left him become a child
To whom the wild seemed milder
Than his old neighborhood.

Had he, with those abandoned
Sons of fatal decrees,
Then been found by a shepherd
And bred up to shepherdese,
Or retrieved, like Dante, by Virgil
And led through circles and seas
To some brighter country beyond
His annotated trees,

-620-

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