Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. (1878–1962).  Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920.  1920.
 
Rebels
 
Louis Untermeyer (1885–1977)
 
 
STIFF in midsummer green, the stolid hillsides
  March with their trees, dependable and stanch,
Except where here and there a lawless maple
  Thrusts to the sky one red, rebellious branch.
 
You see them standing out, these frank insurgents,        5
  With that defiant and arresting plume;
Scattered, they toss this flame like some wild signal,
  Calling their comrades to a brilliant doom.
 
What can it mean—this strange, untimely challenge;
  This proclamation of an early death?        10
Are they so tired of earth they fly the banner
  Of dissolution and a bleeding faith?
 
Or is it, rather than a brief defiance,
  An anxious welcome to a vivid strife?
A glow, a heart-beat, and a bright acceptance        15
  Of all the rich exuberance of life.
 
Rebellious or resigned, they flaunt their color,
  A sudden torch, a burning battle-cry.
“Light up the world,” they wave to all the others;
  “Swiftly we live and splendidly we die.”

  Harper’s Magazine
        20
 

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