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.
 
Incense Smoke
By Ellen Margaret Janson
 
From “Tableaux”

ONE stick I lit in the bronzen image.
The smoke curls upward—lazily—between his lips;
Ivory, and the frail blue of shadows.
 
The image is speaking—
Words of lazy dream-blue smoke        5
Carved like ivory:
“Do you remember?—
The priests wore dragons, great jeweled dragons on their robes.
They sang dreamily
To the god of the dim temple—        10
Chanting, chanting
Through the twisted smoke of incense.
But the god did not stir.
His eyes were like opals, veiled with lost mystery!”
The smoke curls upward—drowsily—        15
Between his lips;
Mist-gray, and the amber of shadows.
 
The image is speaking.
Words of dim gray-gold smoke
Graven like amber:        20
“Do you remember
The offering you burned alone at dawn
To one who did not answer?
Across the ashes
You saw the sea-mist rising—rising—        25
Like the smoke of incense,
And cried out with the pain in your heart.”
 
The smoke curls upward—dreamily—
Between his lips;
Ivory, and the lost blue of shadows.        30
 
 
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