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 Story Teller
By Eunice Tietjens
 
From “Profiles from China”

IN a corner of the market place he sits, his face the target for many eyes.
The sombre crowd about him is motionless, inert. Behind their faces no lamp burns; only their eyes glow faintly with a reflected light.
For their eyes are on his face.
It alone is alive, is vibrant, moving bronze under a sun of bronze.
The taut skin, like polished metal, shines along his cheek and jaw. His eyes cut upward from a slender nose, and his quick mouth moves sharply out and in.        5
Artful are the gestures of his mouth, elaborate and full of guile. When he draws back the bow of his lips his face is like a mask of lacquer, set with teeth of pearl, fantastic, terrible….
 
What strange tale lives in the gestures of his mouth?
Does a fox-maiden, bewitching, tiny-footed, lure a scholar to his doom? Is an unfilial son tortured of devils? Or does a decadent queen sport with her eunuchs?
I cannot tell.
The faces of the people are wooden; only their eyes burn dully with a reflected light.        10
I shall never know.
I am alien, alien…..
 
 
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