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 Riddle
By John Cowper Powys
 
“IS Mary Garden or Nazimova
The greater actress?” Pardon me—both they,
And you and I, seem dreams to me today….
 
All shapes, all forms, seem utterly
Vague images of sleep to me;        5
And my real self moves all alone,
Between huge pyramids of stone,
To where a crouching figure lies
With furtive-cruel, half-closed eyes.
And with that crouchéd thing I hold        10
Converse a hundred centuries old.
She asks. I answer. And not one
Of all her riddles do I shun.
I look into her half-closed eyes
And menace her with my replies.        15
I am alone. She is alone.
And round us pyramids of stone.
She asks—are good and ill the same?
She asks—has Nature any aim?
She asks—is God a ghost or flame?        20
And I—I answer; and the sun
Sinks—and a thousand years are one—
One year—one night….
 
“Is Mary Garden or Nazimova
The greater actress?” Pardon me; both they,        25
And you and I, seem dreams to me today.
 
 
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