Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
Choricos
By Richard Aldington
 
THE ANCIENT songs
Pass deathward mournfully.
 
Cold lips that sing no more, and withered wreaths,
Regretful eyes and drooping breasts and wings—
Symbols of ancient songs        5
Mournfully passing
Down to the great white surges,
Watched of none
Save the frail sea-birds
And the lithe pale girls,        10
Daughters of Okeanos.
 
And the songs pass
From the green land
Which lies upon the waves as a leaf
On the flowers of hyacinth;        15
And they pass from the waters,
The manifold winds and the dim moon,
And they come,
Silently winging through soft Kimmerian dusk,
To the quiet level lands        20
That she keeps for us all,
That she wrought for us all for sleep
In the silver days of the earth’s dawning—
Prosperine, daughter of Zeus.
 
And we turn from the Kuprian’s breasts,        25
And we turn from thee,
Phoibos Apollon,
And we turn from the music of old
And the hills that we loved and the meads,
And we turn from the fiery day,        30
And the lips that were over-sweet;
For silently
Brushing the fields with red-shod feet,
With purple robe
Searing the flowers as with a sudden flame,        35
Death,
Thou hast come upon us.
 
And of all the ancient songs
Passing to the swallow-blue halls
By the dark streams of Persephone,        40
This only remains:
That in the end we turn to thee,
Death,
That we turn to thee, singing
One last song.        45
 
O Death,
Thou art an healing wind
That blowest over white flowers
A-tremble with dew;
Thou art a wind flowing        50
Over long leagues of lonely sea;
Thou art the dusk and the fragrance;
Thou art the lips of love mournfully smiling;
Thou art the pale peace of one
Satiate with old desires;        55
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,
Death,        60
Thou crownest us with the pallid chaplets,
The slim colorless poppies
Which in thy garden alone
Softly thou gatherest.
 
And silently;        65
And with slow feet approaching;
And with bowed head and unlit eyes,
We kneel before thee.
And thou, leaning towards us,
Caressingly layest upon us        70
Flowers from thy thin cold hands,
And, smiling as a chaste woman
Knowing love in her heart,
Thou sealest our eyes
And the illimitable quietude        75
Comes gently upon us.
 
 
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