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.
 
Mother Earth
By Harriet Monroe
 
OH a grand old time has the earth
In the long long life she lives!
From her huge mist-shrouded birth,
When reeling from under
She tore space asunder,        5
And feeling her way
Through the dim first day
Rose wheeling to run
In the path of the sun—
From then till forever,        10
Tiring not, pausing never,
She labors and laughs and gives.
 
Plains and mountains
She slowly makes,
With mighty hand        15
Sifting the sand,
Lifting the land
Out of the soft wet clutch of the shouting sea.
At lofty fountains
Her thirst she slakes,        20
And over the hills
Through the dancing rills
Wide rivers she fills,
That shine and sing and leap in their joy to be free.
Cool greenness she needs        25
And rich odor of bloom;
And longing, believing,
Slowly conceiving,
Her germ-woof weaving,
She spawns little seeds        30
By the wombful, the worldful,
And laughs as the pattern grows fair at her loom.
 
Proudly she trails
Her flower-broidered dresses
In the sight of the sun.        35
Loudly she hails
Through her far-streaming tresses
His coursers that run.
For her heart, ever living, grows eager for life,
Its delight and desire;        40
She feels the high praise of its passion and strife,
Of its rapture and fire.
There are wings and songs in her trees,
There are gleaming fish in her seas;
The brute beasts brave her        45
And gnaw her and crave her;
And out of the heart of these
She wrests a dream, a hope,
An arrogant plan
Of life that shall meet her,        50
Shall know and complete her,
That through ages shall climb and grope,
And at last be man.
 
Out of the bitter void she wins him—
Out of the night;        55
With terror and wild hope begins him,
And fierce delight.
She beats him into caves,
She starves and spurns him.
Her hills and plains are graves—        60
Into dust she turns him.
She teaches him war and wrath
And waste and lust and greed,
Then over his blood-red path
She scatters her fruitful seed.        65
With bloom of a thousand flowers,
With songs of the summer hours,
With the love of the wind for the tree,
With the dance of the sun on the sea,
She lulls and quells him—        70
Oh soft her caress!
And tenderly tells him
Of happiness.
Through her ages of years,
Through his toil and his tears,        75
At her wayward pleasure
She yields of her treasure
A gleam—yea, a hope,
Even a day of days,
When the wide heavens ope        80
And he loves and prays;
Then she laughs in wonder
To see him rise
Her leash from under
And brave the skies!        85
 
Oh a grand old time has the earth
In the long long life she lives!
A grand old time at her work sublime
As she labors and laughs and gives!
 
 
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