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.
 
The Djinn
By Robert Gilbert Welsh
 
THE GAUNT old man
Who teaches Latin and Greek in High School
Is not as old as he looks.
He has a lean ill-fed soul
And has missed the real nourishment of life        5
Because he has merely nibbled at it,
Canned,
Out of books.
 
But the Recording Angel
Has inscribed one good deed to his credit.        10
When Jane Howe was all on edge to go as a missionary to India
Although her orphaned brothers and sisters needed her at home
He got Jane to read queer books—
The Mahabarata and the Zend Avesta—
And they discouraged her        15
And opened her eyes to the impertinence
Of going to India as a missionary;
They impelled her to stay at home,
Where she helped to bring up the younger children.
After a while she married a good provider,        20
And has a family of young and savage Americans
Who need her prayers and labors
Much more than the Hindoos.
 
They say that the teacher of Greek and Latin
Was in love with Jane.        25
If he was he never breathed it.
He always hid his desires
And crushed them,
And never had the courage
Even to make to himself        30
The apology he thought they merited.
 
Sometimes the gaunt old man
Who teaches Latin and Greek in High School
Sits in Weinberg’s Café
On rainy nights;        35
And in the hazy, half-lighted room,
Through the wavering smoke from many cigars,
He suddenly looms up large
Like a Djinn out of a bottle.
 
 
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