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.
 
Mirella Dances
By Lee Wilson Dodd
 
I
SADIE BIMBERG—that’s her name
Down in Houston Street;
And her brother, Isidore,
With his family—wife, and four—
Lives there now, unknown to fame:        5
He sells Kosher meat.
 
Sadie used to work
In Lasalle’s department store;
Wasn’t thirteen when she started
(White and scrawny, with big eyes        10
Black and lustrous, and black hair
In two pig-tails tied with red;
Over-tall and under-fed!)
On the dubious ascent
Toward a living wage … But shirk—        15
Always, from the very first—
All she durst!
Dared to dream she wasn’t meant
To live in a tenement,
Help her mother pay the rent:        20
“What a foolishness,” thought Sadie,
“I was born to be a lady!”
So a little past sixteen
Sadie disappeared.
“On the streets—that’s where she’ll end,”        25
Said each reassuring friend
To the little crooked mother
Brooding on a fate she feared.
“Sadie always was that mean!”
Grumbled Isidore, the brother,        30
Plucking at his silky beard …
 
II
Out from the wings, half-shy, as half-afraid,
Timidly poised as if for startled flight,
Fawn-like she steps, and round her hesitant feet
Lurks the charmed circle of the calcium light.        35
A moment thus, as by her fears delayed,
She hearkens—dryad!—to the sensuous beat
Of savage rhythms, then half-emboldened sways
A little from the hips, and then more bold,
No longer she delays—        40
Maenad—but with fierce glee and sensual glance
Lithe, amorous, ecstatic, uncontrolled—
Leaps to the footlights in tempestuous dance.
And they who sit within the darkened hall
Feast quick insatiate eyes and smite their hands        45
When breathless, brazen, palpitant she stands
Before the curtain for her twentieth call.
Twice daily this her triumph, and she knows
The only world she knows is at her feet!…
 
“Mirella” is the name of Broadway’s rose:        50
They called her Sadie down in Houston Street.
 
 
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