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 Market-gardens
By H. L. Davis
 
From “To the River Beach”

THIS CLEAR day almost of winter, the wind runs
The white pigeons wild and helpless; and I go about
Alone in that flood-basin of land which families
Tend all year. Foreign women now harrow it;
All at work who turn green land under; and the furrows        5
Drawn and raked seem little darker than these faces.
Oh, now I pity old flesh that can not warm itself:
A tail of heavy gray hair whips across the back
Of one stooped, the oldest woman; her thin dress
Like wet cloth, sticks to back and legs in the wind.        10
 
These are they who set out wind-breaks of the rods
Of green willows; and now a few are grown branched trees,
That limber when the wind freshens, and spin leaves
Among the stiff dead rods. Pheasants, heavier-breasted
Than pigeons, live about the willows; and quail        15
Feed in the dead nettles; little birds pick at the grass
Or go as if lost about the white dog-fennel still;
The song of blackbirds comes occasionally from the swale.
 
It comes so that I remember one whose love
I could not have, and grieved for. Since her death        20
I have taken to desiring pride of verse instead.
But see how many birds are not yet gone,
Though the frost left them no comfort a month ago;
And the foreign women’s patience, as if for a spirit
Such as my mind sees with heart and eyes and hands        25
Of that woman who is dead; and upon her wrists
White pigeons bow and delight her. This mind’s a child
Who is whipped, and stands silent for a little while,
Near his mother, wondering if kindness still exist.
 
 
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