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or veiled, certainly the design should never be broken or blurred; and poems like M. B. and Keller Gegen Dom are, I think, insecurely elliptical. Wirtue, possibly by the same token, becomes confused and ill at ease; though the first strophe is keen beyond most of the book. Sometimes perhaps Mr. Williams suffers from the curse of self-consciousness. He allows one, for example, to fall under the spell of heavy fragrant music like this:

None has dipped his hand
in the black waters of the sky
nor picked the yellow lilies
that sway on their clear stems,
and no tree has waited
long enough nor still enough
to touch fingers with the moon.

Then as if suddenly aware of too solemn a face, he changes brusquely to a lighter key, and the end is all too arch:

I looked and there were little frogs
with puffed out throats,
singing in the slime.

Yet if these poems do not give the impression of titanic power or of consistent mastery, they offer certainly a fine assortment. There is hardly a poem that somewhere has not edge and poignancy; and there are very few in which certain lines, certain words, do not graze one with the wings of reality. More than a dozen one is tempted to quote as complete and without flaw. One of these, Chickory and Daisies, seems to indicate the very task Mr. Williams had set himself:

Lift your flowers
on bitter stems,

chickory !

Lift them up
out of the scorched ground !
Bear no foliage
but give yourself
wholly to that!

Strain under them
you bitter, stems
that no beast eats—
and scorn greyness!
Into the heat with them:
cool l
luxuriant! sky-blue !
The earth cracks and
is shriveled up;
the wind moans piteously;
the sky goes out
if you should fail.

Whatever the intention Al Que Quiere does give the sense of a small garden induced to grow in unlikely surroundings: on the whole so deep-rooted that its bloom should last a long time, so native that very likely meaner poets will come to pick what they can; some of the blossoms rare and perfect, others more like those bright hardy flowers that bloom in high places above timber-line.

One poem, To a Solitary Disciple, especially from its twelfth line onward, has ease and elegance above the rest, rearing itself on a tough tenuous stem to the single freedom

of the last lines:

the jasmine lightness
of the moon.

Dorothy Dudley


Reverie: A Little Book of Poems for H. D., by Richard
Aldington. The Clerk's Press, Cleveland, Ohio. (Lim-
ited Edition.)
An American soldier now in France writes, in acknowl-

edging a copy of The New Poetry:

Certain poems, like the Choricos of Aldington, have shuddered with me along night roads, and through their bold beauty have saved me from terror at moments when one of the great shocks —the explosion of an enemy shell, the sudden presence of pain or awful agony, the nearness of death—fell without preface upon Inc. I remember once particularly, in the drab light of a cloudy dawning, when I saw near the edge of a road a poilu quietly lying. I should have fainted, I think, from the sheer tragedy of the incident, had I not heard, singing in my head, Aldington's invocation to death.

Such a letter proves, more sharply than any review, the value of a poet's work. No later lyric by Aldington can ever dim the Greek-marble-like beauty of Choricos, but neither can that poem dim the more tender and human beauty of Reverie. The contrast of moods in the two poems bridges the gulf between youth and manhood. Choricos, which was first printed over five years ago in the second number of PoETRY, was written while the poet was still in his teens. It presents the feeling of adolescence, that high and impersonal exaltation not uncommon when noble youth confronts the thought of death:

Thou art the silence of beauty,
And we look no more for the morning;
We yearn no more for the sun,
Since with thy white hands,

Thou crownest us with the pallid chaplets,
The slim colorless poppies
Which in thy garden alone
Softly thou gatherest.

Since writing it, the poet has experienced love and war— love at its highest, war at its most terrible. He has compassed life, from extreme to extreme, and after that there is no longer question of youth or age—life moves in the larger rhythms of eternity.

All men love for a flash, a day,
As I love now,
But all men do not always love so long
Nor find in love the excuse for life,
The sanction for the bitterness of death.
Not far away as I now write
The guns are beating madly upon the still air
With sudden rapid blows of sound,
And men die with the quiet sun above them
And horror and pain and noise upon earth.

To-morrow, maybe, I shall be one of them,
One in a vast field of dead men,
Unburied, or buried hastily, callously.
But for ever and for ever,
In the fair land I have built up
From the dreams of my love,
We two are together, she bending by the pale flower
And I beside her:
We two together in a land of quiet
Inviolable behind the walls of death.

This tiny book of nine brief poems contains “no murmur against Fate.” The poet accepts war, as he might accept a cyclone, in anguish and bitterness of spirit but without revolt. He feels no élan, no conviction of war's necessity or righteousness, but he takes his place in the ranks and does his part with a grim and resolute stoicism. And out of his despair, out of his hunger for beauty, comes a lyric note clearer and richer than anything we have heard from him since those earliest poems, and an exaltation of spirit as noble and impassioned as in that votive moment of his youth—as noble and impassioned, and perhaps more humane.

We are of those that Dante saw
Glad, for love's sake, among the flames of hell,
Outdaring with a kiss all-powerful wrath;
For we have passed athwart a fiercer hell,
Through gloomier, more desperate circles
Than ever Dante dreamed:
And yet love kept up glad.


Old Christmas and Other Kentucky Tales in Verse, by William Aspenwall Bradley. Houghton Mifflin Co. The Kentucky mountains, rich as they are # folk-lore, should be a happy hunting-ground for poets. Old ScotchEnglish ballads persist there in such root forms as the Fuller sisters have not been able to find even in the remote parts of England; and there persist also old-world legends and traditions. The people speak a quaint English, fresher than that used in the slang-ridden present-day world, an English often reminiscent of the Elizabethans. And they still indulge in romantic blood feuds. Out of this material Mr. Bradley has made a series of story poems, dealing often with real people and incidents that have actually happened. The task he has set himself

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