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 Blue Symphony
By John Gould Fletcher
 
I
THE DARKNESS rolls upward.
The thick darkness carries with it
Rain and a ravel of cloud.
The sun comes forth upon earth.
 
Palely the dawn        5
Leaves me facing timidly
Old gardens sunken:
And in the gardens is water.
 
Sombre wreck-autumnal leaves;
Shadowy roofs        10
In the blue mist,
And a willow-branch that is broken.
 
O old pagodas of my soul, how you glittered across green trees!
 
Blue and cool:
Blue, tremulously,        15
Blow faint puffs of smoke
Across sombre pools.
The damp green smell of rotted wood;
And a heron that cries from out the water.
 
II
Through the upland meadows
        20
I go alone.
For I dreamed of someone last night
Who is waiting for me.
 
Flower and blossom, tell me do you know of her?
Have the rocks hidden her voice?        25
They are very blue and still.
 
Long upward road that is leading me,
Light hearted I quit you,
For the long loose ripples of the meadow-grass
Invite me to dance upon them.        30
 
Quivering grass,
Daintily poised
For her foot’s tripping.
 
O blown clouds, could I only race up like you!
Oh the last slopes that are sun-drenched and steep!        35
 
Look, the sky!
Across black valleys
Rise blue-white aloft
Jagged unwrinkled mountains, ranges of death.
 
Solitude. Silence.        40
 
III
One chuckles by the brook for me:
One rages under the stone.
One makes a spout of his mouth,
One whispers—one is gone.
 
One over there on the water        45
Spreads cold ripples
For me
Enticingly.
 
The vast dark trees
Flow like blue veils        50
Of tears
Into the water.
 
Sour sprites,
Moaning and chuckling,
What have you hidden from me?        55
 
“In the palace of the blue stone she lies forever
Bound hand and foot.”
 
Was it the wind
That rattled the reeds together?
 
Dry reeds,        60
A faint shiver in the grasses.
 
IV
On the left hand there is a temple:
And a palace on the right-hand side.
Foot-passengers in scarlet
Pass over the glittering tide.        65
 
Under the bridge
The old river flows
Low and monotonous
Day after day.
 
I have heard and have seen        70
All the news that has been:
Autumn’s gold and Spring’s green!
 
Now in my palace
I see foot-passengers
Crossing the river,        75
Pilgrims of autumn
In the afternoons.
 
Lotus pools;
Petals in the water:
Such are my dreams.        80
 
For me silks are outspread.
I take my ease, unthinking.
 
V
And now the lowest pine-branch
Is drawn across the disk of the sun.
Old friends who will forget me soon,        85
I must go on
Towards those blue death mountains
I have forgot so long.
 
In the marsh grasses
There lies forever        90
My last treasure,
With the hope of my heart.
 
The ice is glazing over;
Torn lanterns flutter,
On the leaves is snow.        95
 
In the frosty evening
Toll the old bell for me
Once, in the sleepy temple.
Perhaps my soul will hear.
 
Afterglow:        100
Before the stars peep
I shall creep into the darkness.
 
 
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