Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
War Angles
By John Gould Fletcher
 
I
QUEEN VICTORIA’S statue
Was surrounded with geraniums,
Red as the massive backs
Of scarlet-coated grenadiers.
 
Queen Victoria’s statue        5
Today is encircled
With a flourishing crop
Of early potatoes.
 
Thus the world changes,
And we change with it.        10
 
II
You are not utterly desolate,
War-tired soldiers.
You lie down in the churned mud,
Slaves in mud-colored garments.
The storm passes over your heads;        15
When it is over,
Whatever is left of you
Will get up and make a new world.
 
It is we who are desolate,
We older people;        20
Hearing the stale chatter
On life, love, art, the war.
 
We are the bitter ones
Who cannot smile;
For in our heart of hearts,        25
We know we are dried specimens in the museum
Of older things—
Dried specimens set under glass,
Soon to be peered at curiously by searching alien eyes.
 
III
Let us never forget
        30
Joy has two faces:
One soft and transient,
Broken by the lightest shadow;
Another one harder,
Time-worn and wrinkled,        35
Facing its pain,
As if fighting to get the last drop
Out of the cup.
 
Let us never forget
Sometimes to shrug our shoulders.        40
There is always this drift,
Always this chaos,
Always renewal.
Let us remember
That over this chaos        45
There is sometimes moonlight,
And sometimes dawn.
 
 
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