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 Blunted Age
By Agnes Lee
 
  [The old man sips his broth and reads his paper before the fire. His daughters whisper at a window. One of them holds a letter.]

First Daughter
      I DREAD his knowing.
Second Daughter
            She was his favorite sister—
      Older than he, and very far away.
      Think of it—no one with her at the last!
      Better delay the telling … such a sorrow …        5
First Daughter
      Ah, you remember how he loved our mother!
      And yet, last summer, after she had died
      He never seemed to take it hard at all.
      He seemed too much resigned, too much himself.
      It would have killed him twenty years ago!        10
Second Daughter
      It is the age they come to. Something goes out,
      Goes mercifully out. I often think
      They learn to take death as they take their broth,
      Their daily walk, their game of solitaire.
First Daughter
      And you and I, sister? Already youth
        15
      Slips far and far behind us. Shall we, too…?
Second Daughter  [Tearfully]
      How can you say it? How can you say it? Oh!
First Daughter
      Here comes old Nurse Lucretia up the street,
      Heavy with her dull robes, and hurrying
      To be the first to bear the word to him.        20
Second Daughter
      Sign to her, wave her away, wave her away!
      He has seen her close so many dead eyes!
First Daughter            No,
      She has passed along, she was not coming in.
Second Daughter
      Hush, he may hear!
        25
First Daughter            His mind is on his paper.
Second Daughter
      Make some good reason, take the paper from him
      Before he reads … the names. Who knows but hers
      Might be already there?
First Daughter            It is too late.        30
      His finger finds the column.
The Old Man  [Calling]        Here! See here!
      Why, Adelaide is dead! My sister Adelaide!
Daughters
      O father, father!
The Old Man            I suppose it’s true.        35
First Daughter
      A letter came. Now read it, deary, read it.
The Old Man
      No, let it wait. So Adelaide is dead!
      Well, she was restless—go and go she must,
      First to this place, then that place, till at last
      She settled in Nevada. As for me,        40
      Here I am still, and I shall count my hundred.
      Well, well, well, well, so Adelaide is dead!
 
 
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