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 Well in the Desert
By John Gould Fletcher
 
From “Arizona Poems”

BY the well in the desert I sat for long,
And saw the magpies, with black and white chequered bodies,
Leaping from twig to twig of the grease-wood
To look at the water spilled on the ground
By the herder who went by with three lean cattle        5
Climbing out of the blue and gold shimmer of morning.
There was the shallow well, with stones piled about it,
The coarse tattered rope, the battered tin bucket,
And the nose of my pony cropping thin grass not far off;
Then gray sagebrush and silence.        10
At the horizon
The heat rose and fell—
Sharp flickering arpeggios;
The wind started up somewhere,
Then stopped.        15
The blue smoke of my cigarette
Wavered and failed:
I was drowsing.
And it seemed to me in my dream
I was riding        20
To a low brown cluster of squat adobe houses
Under the brow of a red barren mesa,
Where the track of a wagon trail passed, dipped, and vanished,
By a corral with walls of rough plastered stone:
And I saw,        25
Looking down at the houses,
An Indian with a red sash, flannel shirt, and blue trousers,
And a red band about his coarse black hair.
Eyes black as an antelope
Looked up at me:        30
Sheep were feeding about him.
And I said to him, “Where do you come from?”
And he replied,
“From Nazareth, beyond the desert,
In Galilee.”        35
 
 
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