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.
 
Readers
By Robert Gilbert Welsh
 
IN the reading room of the public library
A queer group gathers about the table.
The tired man at one end
Has been called by some persons a tramp.
He merely pretends to read        5
So that he may stay here
Safe in the warmth,
Shut away from the wind and the rain.
His eyelids are not merely lowered,
They are actually closed;        10
And he is sleeping lightly as a cat.
 
The old woman near the other end
Slipped away from her cheerless hall-room,
And came here because she likes the lights
And the changing human faces.        15
She has her supper hidden in her pocket;
She slips a bite into her mouth
When none is looking,
And pretends that she is reading the Outlook.
 
The tall thin boy with the exciting mauve shirt        20
Is reading the chapters of a lurid serial,
Just to fill in the hour
Until the burlesquers begin
In the theatre on the next block.
 
And in the shelves behind them all,        25
The masters of the world,
In reserve and silence,
Await the coming of a sympathetic friend.
 
 
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