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.
 
Blanche of the Quarter
By Florence Wilkinson
 
From “Latin Quarter Ways”

YES, she’s American—you’d hardly think it
To see her order absinthe, sip and drink it,
And rattle off French slang to her last lover—
Sculptor, collegian or wealthy rover.
Her countrymen? No, never. Once, they say,        5
She sang in church and taught and had a Day
When maiden aunts dropped in—or, better, clambered up—
For impecunious Blanche was always perched tip-top.
She painted hard and won a Salon prize;
Then—something happened. (Oh, her tell-tale eyes!)        10
The man went back, I think. No money, so—what use!
And she as lovely as a fawn let loose
In Fontainebleau—and with that infant’s face!
Her age?—it’s hard to guess. Oh, yes—a studio-place,
Terrors behind the screen, a divan and all that.        15
Goes out to tea, with the same picture-hat,
At—blank—Grande Chaumiére, you know the number,
Where certain rules the gaiety encumber.
Jests of her griefs so gallantly! Yes, poor, in truth—
So she’s a puzzle—is a Lure to Youth;        20
To men, can’t help herself. No niche at home—
It must be Paris always, or roam and roam.
Of course she’s sick of it—art’s not enough.
We’ll say she’s lost her bearings … who would be rough
In judging her!… She is so pretty still!        25
(Tiens, ma Blanche! Oh, Blanche, the glass will spill
Between the two of you!) Like Willy’s Vagabonde
She knows the Langue Verte—yes, “down to the ground.”
 
Is she selling her soul for a toy of small cost?
Will she cry all night for the thing she has lost,        30
    Infantine Blanche?
Too many cups she has handled and wasted,
Too many friendships played with and tasted!
Puritan nomad, hither and thither,
Child to the end—but in the end whither?        35
    Tragic Blanche!
 
 
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