Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > The New Poetry: An Anthology
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  The New Poetry: An Anthology.  1917.
 
257. Pain
 
By Harriet Monroe
 
 
SHE heard the children playing in the sun,
And through her window saw the white-stemmed trees
Sway like a film of silver in the breeze
Under the purple hills; and one by one
She noted chairs and cabinets, and spun        5
The pattern of her bed’s pale draperies:
Yet all the while she knew that each of these
Was a dull lie, in irony begun.
For down in hell she lay, whose livid fires
Love may not quench, whose pangs death may not quell.        10
The round immensity of earth and sky
Shrank to a point that speared her. Loves, desires,
Darkened to torturing ministers of hell,
Whose mockery of joy deepened the lie.
 
Little eternities the black hours were,        15
Day waned, and night came like a faithless friend,
Bringing no joy; till slowly over her
A numbness grew, and life became a blur,
A silence, an oblivion, a dark blend
Of dim lost agonies, whose downward trend        20
Led into time’s eternal sepulchre.
And yet, when, after aeons infinite
Of dark eclipse she woke—lo, it was day!
The pictures hung upon the walls, each one;
Under the same rose-patterned coverlet        25
She lay; spring was still young, and still the play
Of happy children sounded in the sun.
 

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