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.
 
Passing Near
By Witter Bynner
 
I HAD not till today been sure,
    But now I know:
Dead men and women come and go
    Under the pure
    Sequestering snow.        5
 
And under the autumnal fern
    And carmine bush,
Under the shadow of a thrush,
    They move and learn;
    And in the rush        10
 
Of all the mountain-brooks that wake
    With upward fling
To brush and break the loosening cling
    Of ice, they shake
    The air with Spring!        15
 
I had not till today been sure,
    But now I know:
Dead youths and maidens come and go
    Below the lure
    And undertow        20
 
Of cities, under every street
    Of empty stress,
Or heart of an adulteress:
    Each loud retreat
    Of lovelessness.        25
 
For only by the stir we make
    In passing near
Are we confused, and cannot hear
    The ways they take
    Certain and clear.        30
 
Today I happened in a place
    Where all around
Was silence; until, underground,
    I heard a pace,
    A happy sound.        35
 
And people whom I there could see
    Tenderly smiled,
While under a wood of silent, wild
    Antiquity
    Wandered a child,        40
 
Leading his mother by the hand,
    Happy and slow,
Teaching his mother where to go
    Under the snow.
Not even now I understand—        45
    I only know.
 
 
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