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.
 
Unseeing the Seen
By Arthur D. Rees
 
From “Volunteers”
Joseph Quinn, Carney’s Point

I WAS a chemical worker in a powder factory,
Sometimes even cutting the powder myself,
In preparation for other people to shoot it.
But now I’ve enlisted for the army,
Wanting to do my duty, I suppose,        5
And shoot it myself.
 
And then—I’ll tell you—
I want to forget a few things about women,
But haven’t yet discovered the formula.
The harder I hunt the more I remember,        10
And the more I pretend indifference
The crazier is my madness.
 
When I told the recruiting officers I was not married,
I meant it in the sight of God,
For I knew they couldn’t see as God sees.        15
I’m not living with my wife at any rate;
Another fellow is, and I’m going to war.
 
How well I remember the long kiss in the dark,
That made her mine!
Something I would and wouldn’t forget!        20
Oh, well—it’s easy to be chaste when you’re old,
And to say what you think’s best to be done:
But virgins won’t go to virgins for advice;
And so we all live and learn,
And agree at last, it may be,        25
With the scrupulosity of the passionless.
 
Yet after all why should I care?
It’s only that I can’t help caring—that’s all.
The finest moments of life anyway
Are moments of some intoxication,        30
And each mouth must drink from its own goblet,
Be it even the cup of wrath.
 
All battles are for the beauty of women!
Falling into love, flying into passion—
This invaded Belgium;        35
And nuptial fires kindled the flames of Louvain.
 
 
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