Posts tagged ‘1920’

Monday, 26 March 2018

Child’s Song by Leah McTavish Cohen

My mother was a harlot,
My father was a clerk;
My mother wore scarlet,
My father a coat dark.

They met once only.
Parted at morn —
But from that lone lie
Was I born.

When she grew bigger,
Mother in dread
Pinched in her figure,
Bore me dead.

They buried my body
Deep in a hole.
And prayed to God He
Would save my soul.

From: Sitwell, Edith (ed.), Wheels, 1920 (Fifth Cycle), 1920, B. H. Blackwell: Oxford, p. 43.

Date: 1920

By: Leah McTavish Cohen (fl. 1920)

Friday, 16 March 2018

Skyscrapers by John Gould Fletcher

What are these, angels or demons,
Or steel and stone?
Soaring, alert,
Striped with diversified windows,
These sweep aloft
And the multitude crane their necks to them: —
Are they angels, or demons,
Or stone?

If the grey sapless people,
Moving along the street, thought them angels,
They too would be beautiful,.
Erect and laughing to the sky for joy.
If as demons they feared them,
They would smite with fierce hatred
These brown haughty foreheads:
They would not suffer them to hold the sun in trust.

What,are they, then, angels, or demons,
Or stone?
Deaf sightless towers
Unendowed yet with life;
Soaring vast effort
Spent in the sky till it breaks there.
You men of my country
Who shaped these proud visions,
You have yet to find godhead
Not here, but in the human heart.

May 25, 1920.

From: Fletcher, John Gould, Breakers and Granite, 1921, The Macmillan Company: New York, pp. 15-16.

Date: 1920

By: John Gould Fletcher (1886-1950)

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Hard of Hearing by Alan Porter

Once in April ways
I heard the cuckoo call.
Among more withering days
Haulms twitched and clicked with heat.
I heard the bumping fall
Of yellow plums. My feet
Drew bickerings from the grass
Like thunder-rain on roofs,
Or clattered arms of brass.
Horses’ battering hoofs
Ring no louder now
Than once a distant stream.
The grasshopper’s old-hussif row
Dies to remembered dream.

In bygone days I heard
The swinging dewberry scratch
To the flurried flight of a bird,
Nor found it hard to catch
The plashy drop when a trout
Came bowbent leaping out.
I heard from pools and bogs
The little, barking frogs.
Clapping water-weeds,
The hiss of sand-wasps’ wings,
Wind-brattled campion seeds,
Were close familiar things.
Now nature’s musics half are fled;
And half my heart is dead.

From: Porter, Alan, “Hard of Hearing”, Wheels, 1920 (Fifth Cycle), 1920, pp. 39-40.

Date: 1920

By: Alan Porter (1899-1942)

Thursday, 16 November 2017

A Lament by George Edward Woodberry

Dizzily dropping, to the gulf I fall,
The bright bolt in my brain!
Vainly upon the heavenly gods I call,
Murmuring a mortal’s pain.

Deep under deep receives me, and no wing
Bears up the astonished soul:—
Only the fire-eyed stars have ceased to sing.
And the gray sea to roll.

From: Woodberry, George Edward, The Roamer and Other Poems, 1920, Harcourt, Brace and Howe: New York, p. 245.

Date: 1920

By: George Edward Woodberry (1855-1930)

Saturday, 4 February 2017

A Quatrain on Dyeing the Hair by Abu Abdollah Jafar ibn Mohammad Rudaki

Not for this reason, black my hair I dye.
To look more young and vices new to try ;
People in time of grief don raiment black —
I black my hair in grief at old age nigh.

From: Jackson, A. V. Williams, Early Persian Poetry: From the Beginnings Down to the Time of Firdausi, 1920, The MacMillan Company: New York, p. 41.

Date: 10th century (original in Arabic); 1920 (translation in English)

By: Abu Abdollah Jafar ibn Mohammad Rudaki (858-c941)

Translated by: Abraham Valentine Williams Jackson (1862-1937)

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Toleration by John Leslie Barford (Philebus)

Is it too much to ask that I should be
Allowed to prove
God’s gift of infinite variety
In human love?

I do not seek that all should understand,
Much less forgive;
But surely heed man’s commonsense command
“Live and let love,”

And, if the Greatest Lover’s word divine
Further can move, —
(Who had Himself all natures, even mine,)
Love — and let love.

Serve Her Right

Gertie Green made eyes at me.
Mother ought to slap her!
But I took her out to tea
Just to see if I could be
Happy with a flapper.

But the base philanderer
Ogled with another;
So, of course to despite her,
I decided to transfer
Affections to her brother;

And I did! . . .


Date: c1920

By: John Leslie Barford (Philebus) (1886-1937)

Sunday, 14 August 2016

In Praise of Love by Juan Ruiz

Truly my mother bore me ‘neath the sign of Venus fair,
Know, therefore, that to serve good dames is aye my chiefest care;
And if the pear-tree I must see yet never taste the pear,
To rest at least beneath its shade is bliss that all may share.

Love to the foolish giveth wit by great and potent art,
Love to the dumb or slow of speech can eloquence impart,
Can make the craven, shrinking coward valiant and strong of heart,
Can by his power the sluggard spur out of his sleep to start.

Love to the young eternal youth can by his craft bestow,
The all-subduing might of eld can even overthrow;
Can make the face as swart as pitch full white and fair to grow,
And give to those not worth a doit full many a grace, I trow.

The dolt, the fool, the slow of wit, the poor man or the base
Unto his mistress seemeth rich in every goodly grace,
Then he that loseth lady fair should straightway set his face
T’ward finding one that worthily may fill her vacant place.

At length the poet, still unsuccessful in his quest of a lady,
loses patience and makes a spirited attack on Love, here, as
in Provençal poetry, represented as a young man.

From: Farnell, Ida (editor and translator), Spanish Prose and Poetry Old and New with Translated Specimens, 1920, Clarendon Press: Oxford, p. 20.

Date: c1330 (original in Spanish); 1920 (translation in English)

By: Juan Ruiz (c1283-c1350)

Translated by: Ida Farnell (18??-19??)

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Alone in Spring by Caroline Giltinan

I never met the Spring alone before:
The flowers, birds, the loveliness of trees,
For with me always there was one I love—
And love is shield against such gifts as these.

But now I am alone, alone, alone;
The days and nights one long remembering.
Did other Aprils that we shared possess
The hurting beauty of this living Spring?

I never met the Spring alone before—
My starving grief—this radiance of gold!…
To be alone, when Spring is being born,
One should be dead—or suddenly grown old.


Date: 1920

By: Caroline Giltinan (1884-19??)

Saturday, 1 November 2014

All Souls’ Night, 1917 by Hortense King Flexner

You heap the logs and try to fill
The little room with words and cheer,
But silent feet are on the hill,
Across the window veiled eyes peer.
The hosts of lovers, young in death,
Go seeking down the world to-night,
Remembering faces, warmth and breath—
And they shall seek till it is light.
Then let the white-flaked logs burn low,
Lest those who drift before the storm
See gladness on our hearth and know
There is no flame can make them warm.


Date: 1920

By: Hortense King Flexner (1885-1973)

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Spook by James Francis Carlin MacDonnell

The most horrible sight I ever saw
Was the soul of a scare-crow, gaunt and queer,
Made of Humor, the Shadow of straw
And a foolish notion of Fear.

From: Carlin, Francis, The Cairn of Stars, 1920, Henry Holt and Company: New York, p. 96.

Date: 1920

By: James Francis Carlin MacDonnell (1881-1944)