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.
 
In Praise of Abrigada
By Leonora Speyer
 
I HAD been told
A foolish tale—
Of stone—dank—cold:
But you,
Held to wide winter storm,        5
To clutch of blackening frost and ocean gale,
Are warm!
 
I thought that stone was silent too,
Unmoved by beauty,
Unaware of season or of mirth:        10
But I hear laughter, singing, as I lay
My face against your gray;
Surely I hear the ritual of far waves
And scent their winging spray,
Mixed with wild-rose and honeysuckle,        15
Budding sassafras,
And the cool breath of pungent, leafy bay.
 
I knew that walls were sheltering
And strong;
But you have sheltered love so long        20
That love is part
Of your high towering,
Lifting you higher still,
As heart lifts heart….
 
Hush!        25
How the whip-poor-will
Wails from his bush:
The thrush
Grows garrulous with delight!
There is a rapture in that liquid monotone,        30
“Bob White! Bob—White!”
Dear living stone!
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
In the great room below,
Where arches hold the listening spaces,
Flames crackle, leap and gleam        35
In the deep fire-places;
Memories dream …
Of other memories, perhaps,
Of gentle lives,
Of births, and of those other births that men call death,        40
Of voices, foot-steps tapping the stone floor,
And faces … faces …
 
Beyond, the open door,
The meadows drowsy with the moon,
The faint outline of dune,        45
The lake, the silver magic in the trees:
Walls, you are one with these!
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
High on the loggia-roof,
Under the stars as pale as they,
Two silent ones have crept away,        50
Seeking the deeper silence lovers know:
Into the radiant shadows of the night,
Into the aching beauty of the night,
They dare to go!
 
The moon        55
Is a vast cocoon,
Spinning her wild, white thread
Across the sky.
A thousand crickets croon
Their sharp-edged lullaby.        60
I hear a murmuring of lips on lips:
“All that I am, beloved!
All!”—
Lovers’ eternal cry!
Lift them still higher, wall!
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
        65
You stand serene:
The great winds linger, lean
Upon your breast;
The mist
Lifts up a gray face to be kissed;        70
The east and west
Hang you with banners,
Flaunt their bold victories of dusk and dawn;
Seasons salute you as they pass,
Call to you and are gone.        75
Amid your meadow-grass
Lush, green,
You stand serene.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Houses, like hearts, are living, loving,
Joyful or woeful,        80
Forget or are forgot;
Houses, like tired hearts,
Sicken at last, and die,
Crumble and rot:
But they who know you, Abrigada,        85
They—and I—
Forget you not!
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Nor they who stand on Abrigada’s roof,
Glowing, aloof!
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Come with me now,        90
Climb with me, stand, look down
In new content of mood,
Withdrawn from clasp of crowd
And tangle of the town!
Climb swifter still—        95
From safe companionship of cloud
The deeper to look down!
 
Not back!
Forget the thirst, the sordid cup,
The plethora, the piteous lack;        100
Forget the trafficking in tears,
The arrogance of scars.
Look up …
To dream undaunted dreams aloud,
And stumble toward the stars!
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
        105
This be in praise
Of Abrigada;
In all the ways
That come to me
Through the wise, wistful summer days.        110
 
In speech, in rhyme and rhythm of word
Call it a poem, maybe!
 
In song—tuck the brown shining wood
Under my chin!
Call it my bird,        115
My heart,
My violin!
In prayer …
In dream …
In silence, best of all,        120
Leaning on the beloved dew-drenched wall.
 
Leaning and lifting …
High …
With Abrigada’s gesture toward the sky.
 
 
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