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.
 
Dirge
By Richard Hughes
 
TO those under smoke-blackened tiles, and cavernous echoing arches,
In tortuous hid courts where the roar never ceases
Of deep cobbled streets wherein dray upon dray ever marches,
  The sky is a broken lid, a litter of smashed yellow pieces.
 
To those under mouldering tiles, where life to an hour is crowded—        5
Life, to a span of the floor, to an inch of the light;
And night is all feverous hot, a time to be bawded and rowdied:
  Day is a time of grinding, that looks for rest to the night.
 
Those who would live, do it quickly; with quick tears, sudden laughter,
Quick oaths, terse blasphemous thoughts about God the Creator.        10
Those who would die, do it quickly; with noose from the rafter,
  Or the black, shadowy eddies of Thames, the hurry-hater.
 
Life is the master, the keen and grim destroyer of beauty.
Death is a quiet and deep reliever, where soul upon soul
And wizened and thwarted body on body are loosed from their duty        15
  Of living, and sink in a bottomless, edgeless, impalpable hole.
 
Dead, they can see far above them, as if from the depth of a pit,
Black on the glare small figures that twist and are shrivelled in it.
 
 
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