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Into the busy bustling world of young gazelles,
With their long thin legs tripping noiselessly;
Into the thronging glade of girlish hopes and fears,
In a harsh world where the folding and the unfolding
Of tenderly sequined fans makes a living music
For their anguished eye and ear,
And a wall to keep the beasty wolves from their fingertips,
And the tongues of hummingbirds distantly
From their young and frightened throats.
I hear the hearts of little girls beating
Against the hearts of the young gazelles!
It makes a white commotion in forests of thick pearl;
And their young white fingers waver as would
Young jasmine buds on the fallen embers of the breeze.

SPINSTERS

October in New England:
They are the gargoyles supporting old buttresses,
These virgins that roam wistfully among the ruins,
Victims of an effete worship.
Some of them love their father,
Some of them love their mother,
Some of them love themselves,
Some of them watch for a sail
That will never skim their horizon.
They form the granite supports in the arches
Of old cathedrals and mausoleums with shut doors,

They hold the rafters up, whose lacework
Is the fluttering place of bats.
There is a spacious cobweb covering all their nights
With a dewless gossamer.
A stillness that is the speech of ice
Consumes their swiftly gliding days.
They mother the owl and nurse the adder
In their vacuous dreams.
Lost hopes run rivulets of despair
Down their parchment cheeks.
They are rushing eagles without a sky;
Their pinions are drenched, their heads droop
And they cannot soar for the beating of the rain.
Soon, and they will join their sisters the leafless trees,
Who stand like stone until the lightning strikes
Them to the mouldy earth, or a lusty axe
Fells them to the ground for the evening fire.
Delicious would the blow of the axe seem,
With health and vigor and lust springing from the handle.
Leaves are they that droop when the first frost touches
Their veins; they coil together and wither on the stem,
Swaying and swirling to the earth.
Their eyes are like lanterns in the depths
Of old cellars that are riddled with the years.
Deserted farms are they, with the good grain gone,
The flax spun. The fox eats the grapes, the deer
Pass furtively by on the edge of the dusk
For the sweet apples fallen from the once young boughs.
They search the cellar, seeking the hummingbird,
And find the cutworm on the beam.
Gargoyles of stone—soon the wind will have lifted
The furrows from your brows and cheeks, and hands.
Soon—when the work of the wind and rain are done—
You shall have the youth of the dust upon you—
Then you can run and dance and blow
And toy with the wind as if you had borne
Litters of laughing children.
The dust is your sighing place:
When you have finished with the mottoes
Of old gravestones—“here lies,” and what was good
Graven in white words—
You shall yourselves have one!

Bats breed in belfries, hummingbirds on young boughs!
Spinsters, you are the gargoyles for high towers!
The burr of the chestnut hides the meaty nut!

HER DAUGHTER

She was so young, so like a tigress,
Her large round eyes of jet and amber
Lanceting one through from edge to edge
And from side to side with a girl's ferocity.
Her hair was short, also jet in hue
With blue lustres in it, and her lips were round
And full, and her breasts were round and full,

And they shot through the black wool mesh
Great shafts of jungle fire out at one.
She made no other overture.

Following her, upon the bridge made of young trees
Turned so like dusted ivory with the heats and rains
And fogs, and early dews and mists—
Or, as one would say, blanched to a veritable white—
Her mother.
Her mother, shaded by a parasol, walked discreetly
So many paces behind her—so many paces,
Smiling at something, surely not this,
Smiling with a vague enthusiasm;
For she was too old to laugh heartily about lusting flesh.
She had no breasts now, and her eyes were rimmed
With gold, and there was no light and no heat in them,
Or any tendency to casual fervors.

But she was young, so like a tigress—
Her very large round eyes of jet and amber
Lanceting through one from chest to spine
And from scalp to heel with a girl's ferocity.
She had her lusty appointment with the sea.
Her suit of black wool showed all of that—
Her lips were not colored,
And her hands were pale—the mother had no breasts.
This was certainly a fair exchange for the sea.

AFTER BATTLE

I

“I don't know where
We're going to,” one said—
“”Tis but a week has sped
Since I saw the blooming sun
Up there where it is day,
And every day was fair.
How the water gurgles by the port!
I hear the tread
Of dreadful waves
Above my head—
Or is it just the sea,
Or is it just, eternity ?
They do not call us now,
Who have a sorrow
On their brow.”

II

I heard the thunder
Climb the bleeding hill—
I heard it loud, and then
I heard it still.
They must have got some more
For the long rows in our yard |
I heard someone implore
How many—have you heard?

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