Modern Verse in English, 1900-1950

By David Cecil; Allen Tate | Go to book overview

IV

At every subway port a Sally stands
collecting for the poor a brief thanksgiving.
Observe her feet in newspapers, her hands
in woolen gloves. Such charity demands
even of dead hopes that they go on living.


V
The Burial Ground

Only the dead are faithful, for their trust,
despite the iron fence, the iron doors,
and living grass, like them makes vacant dust.
Lie still, lie quiet, O my ancestors:
you cannot rise, and we the living must.


Richard Eberhart (Am. b. 1904)

The Groundhog

In June, amid the golden fields,
I saw a groundhog lying dead.
Dead lay he; my senses shook,
And mind outshot our naked frailty.
There lowly in the vigorous summer
His form began its senseless change,
And made my senses waver dim
Seeing nature ferocious in him.
Inspecting close his maggots' might
And seething cauldron of his being,
Half with loathing, half with a strange love,
I poked him with an angry stick.
The fever arose, became a flame
And Vigour circumscribed the skies,
Immense energy in the sun,
And through my frame a sunless trembling.
My stick had done nor good nor harm.
Then stood I silent in the day
Watching the object, as before;

-474-

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