Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern American Poetry
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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry.  1919.
 
Stephen Vincent Benét. 1898–
 
132. Portrait of a Boy
 
AFTER the whipping, he crawled into bed; 
Accepting the harsh fact with no great weeping. 
How funny uncle's hat had looked striped red! 
He chuckled silently. The moon came, sweeping 
A black frayed rag of tattered cloud before         5
In scorning; very pure and pale she seemed, 
Flooding his bed with radiance. On the floor 
Fat motes danced. He sobbed; closed his eyes and dreamed. 
  
Warm sand flowed round him. Blurts of crimson light 
Splashed the white grains like blood. Past the cave's mouth  10
Shone with a large fierce splendor, wildly bright, 
The crooked constellations of the South; 
Here the Cross swung; and there, affronting Mars, 
The Centaur stormed aside a froth of stars. 
Within, great casks like wattled aldermen  15
Sighed of enormous feasts, and cloth of gold 
Glowed on the walls like hot desire. Again, 
Beside webbed purples from some galleon's hold, 
A black chest bore the skull and bones in white 
Above a scrawled "Gunpowder!" By the flames,  20
Decked out in crimson, gemmed with syenite, 
Hailing their fellows by outrageous names 
The pirates sat and diced. Their eyes were moons. 
"Doubloons!" they said. The words crashed gold. "Doubloons!" 
 
 
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