“A Picture” by Victor Tait Perowne

A Picture

She sat within the dappling shade
That flickered o'er the forest glade,
The listening birches shadows made.

In that still place there was no stir,
About her fell the hair of her
Heavy with aloes and myrrh.

A golden chain her waist confined,
Closed were her eyes, as she were blind.
Her robe was all with crimson lined,

With twisted cords about the hem,
Her wrists were twined with many a gem,
Her neck was like a lily stem.

[ . . . ]

Victor Tait Perowne's poem "A Picture" was published in the first "cycle" of the Wheels anthology in 1916. To read this poem in full in a digitized version of this publication, follow the links below:


Modernist Journals Project

“The Lonely Death” by Adelaide Crapsey

The Lonely Death

In the cold I will rise, I will bathe
In waters of ice; myself
Will shiver, and shrive myself,
Alone in the dawn, and anoint
Forehead and feet and hands;
I will shutter the windows from light,
I will place in their sockets the four
Tall candles and set them a-flame
In the grey of the dawn; and myself
Will lay myself straight in my bed,
And draw the sheet under my chin.

Adelaide Crapsey's poem "The Lonely Death" was published in the 1916 Others anthology. To read this poem in a digitized version of this publication, follow the link below:


“A Saxon Song” by Vita Sackville-West

A Saxon Song

       Tools with the comely names,
       Mattock and scythe and spade,
       Couth and Bitter as flames,
       Clean, and bowed in the blade,—
A man and his tools make a man and his trade.

       Breadth of the English shires,
       Hummock and kame and mead,
       Tang of the reeking byres,
       Land of the English breed,—
A man and his land make a man and his creed.

[ . . . ]

Vita Sackville-West's poem "A Saxon Song" was published in Georgian Poetry, 1920-1922. To read the poem in full in a digitized version of this publication, follow the link below:


“In the Little Old Market-Place” by Ford Madox Hueffer

In the Little Old Market-Place

(To the Memory of A.V.)

It rains, it rains,
From gutters and drains
And gargoyles and gables:
It drips from the tables
That tell us the tolls upon grains,
Oxen, asses, sheep, turkeys and fowls
Set into the rain-soaked wall
Of the old Town Hall.

The mountains being so tall
And forcing the town on the river,
The market's so small
That, with the wet cobbles, dark arches and all,
The owls
(For in dark rainy weather the owls fly out
Well before four), so the owls
In the gloom
Have too little room
And brush by the saint on the fountain
In veering about.

The poor saint on the fountain!
Supported by plaques of the giver
To whom we're beholden;
His name was de Sales
And his wife's name von Mangel.
(Now is he a saint or archangel?)
He stands on a dragon
On a ball, on a column
Gazing up at the vines on the mountain :
And his falchion is golden
And his wings are all golden.
He bears golden scales
And in spite of the coils of his dragon, without hint
            of alarm or invective
Looks up at the mists on the mountain.

(Now what saint or archangel
Stands winged on a dragon,
Bearing golden scales and a broad bladed sword all
Alas, my knowledge
Of all the saints of the college,
Of all these glimmering, olden
Sacred and misty stories
Of angels and saints and old glories . . .
Is sadly defective.)
The poor saint on the fountain . . .

On top of his column
Gazes up sad and solemn.
But is it towards the top of the mountain
Where the spindrifty haze is
That he gazes?
Or is it into the casement
Where the girl sits sewing?
There's no knowing.

Hear it rain!
And from eight leaden pipes in the ball he stands on
That has eight leaden and copper bands on,
There gurgle and drain
Eight driblets of water down into the basin.

And he stands on his dragon
And the girl sits sewing
High, very high in her casement
And before her are many geraniums in a parket
All growing and blowing
In box upon box
From the gables right down to the basement
With frescoes and carvings and paint . . .

The poor saint!
It rains and it rains,
In the market there isn't an ox,
And in all the emplacement
For waggons there isn't a waggon,
Not a stall for a grape or a raisin,
Not a soul in the market
Save the saint on his dragon
With the rain dribbling down in the basin,
And the maiden that sews in the casement.

They are still and alone,
Mutterseelens alone,
And the rain dribbles down from his heels and his

From wet stone to wet stone.
It's grey as at dawn,
And the owls, grey and fawn,
Call from the little town hall
With its arch in the wall,
Where the fire-hooks are stored.

From behind the flowers of her casement
That's all gay with the carvings and paint,
The maiden gives a great yawn,
But the poor saint—
No doubt he's as bored!
Stands still on his column
Uplifting his sword
With never the ease of a yawn
From wet dawn to wet dawn . . .

Ford Madox Hueffer's (he later changed his surname to Ford) poem "In the Little Old Market-Place" was published in the 1914 Des Imagistes anthology. To read the poem in digitized versions of this publication, follow the links below:

“Subjective Odyssey” by H.R. Barbor

Subjective Odyssey

In the cool of evening
I and myself go voyaging,
Seeking a ghoul-grotesquerie, a sublimated
Intensified paradisal Piccadilly
Circus with its half-past-one-a.m.
Denizens—doxies and drabs
And rubber-heeled custodians of the woe
That world-wide mediocrity has made
In its own blear image
And christened after Christ.
(You may think that silly
But you can't blame them.
After all, Christ came
To save the silly.
At present, true, he has not quite
        succeeded :
More time, of course, is needed.)

The soul goes voyaging,
Barbor's off on a new spindrifty tack.
The damned chill spray
Can't wash high hopes away.
Anon he's scouting
For brazen butterflies or moths of steel,
Flapping with his coat o'er the meads of
'Neath the blistering sun—
The cynic son-of-a-gun.
See, he brings down one,
A fluttering, frail
Trifle of steel and vigour
(Dreams made them so, crystal-hard,
Whereas hopes and abstractions puff up,
        bigger and bigger,
Till they rival footballs, mattresses, or the
       necks of German bankers).

This captivating captive,
Trifle of steel and vigour:
One can't be cruel—or wise—
And pinch her dead with a sharp accurate
So away she flies,
And while she flirts in the luminous air
      and flits
In such wise
That amazement on our cousin Barbor sits,
I tug his coat-tails, point him over the way
Where the light is gay
On the tavern, and men make better
Than these tenuous forms, fancy-born, that
       only fancy

Love's a good game
For winter evenings—or spring or summer,
But tame
For ever and anon. The apogee
Stales. Desire is "up a tree."
Nought's left but to take a cab to infinity,
But Necessity
Warns you to put a luncheon-basket under
        the seat
Since bore and bored must eat.

But hang infinity—
I'll stay awhile in the tavern here with me.
My alter ego leans across the table
Asking the inveterate question, " What is
As if I'm able
To state a case for Casualty!—
The malign decrepit bar-tender who pours
Red wine or white,
Illusions bright,
Or bitter tincture of dead and rotten hopes
Into my cup.

While inclination gropes
In the littered pigeon-holes of memory,
Deciding how I'll sup,
I lose the comfort of good comradry,
For Barbor lounges intently over the way
To a white-avised, stray,
Gay girl. And loneliness distils
Nostalgic chills
About me as the mists close on the hills.

Sight and sense
Barter disdain for folly's recompense.
The old hunt begins again all over :
The dogs'-eared pages are re-read from
         cover to cover.

''What then, crawl all your days
"Along these dismal ways,
"This vicious circle too small for vice to
"This via media, this mean parade?"
Contends Myself,
Coming back from the girl with the gleam
         of contempt in my eye,
And I am fain to reply :
''Take up your trade.
"A bout of work'll
"Soon set things right.
"A hammer drowns women's chatter,
"They can't abide the clatter!"
Thus I and alter ego
Fall into step and walk through the night,
And in the morning greet the new-risen
The intemperate son-of-a-gun—
With a grin that mocks the affright
Of overnight.

H.R. Barbor's poem "Subjective Odyssey" was published in the sixth and final "cycle" of the Wheels anthology (1921). To read this poem in a digitized version of this publication, follow the links below:


Librivox Audio Recording (Hosted on Archive.org)

The Modernist Journals Project

“Chicago Poet” by Carl Sandburg

Chicago Poet

I saluted a nobody.
I saw him in a looking-glass.
He smiled — so did I.
He crumpled the skin on his forehead,
frowning — so did I.
Everything I did he did.
I said, "Hello, I know you."
And I was a liar to say so.

Ah, this looking-glass man!
Liar, fool, dreamer, play-actor,
Soldier, dusty drinker of dust —

[ . . . ]

Carl Sandburg's poem "Chicago Poet" was published in the 1917 Others anthology. To read this poem in full in a digitized version of this publication, follow the links below:



“The Mind’s Liberty” by William H. Davies

The Mind's Liberty

The mind, with its own eyes and ears,
    May for these others have no care;
No matter where this body is,
   The mind is free to go elsewhere.
My mind can be a sailor, when
   This body's still confined to land;
And turn these mortals into trees,
   That walk in Fleet Street or the Strand.

So, when I'm passing Charing Cross,
   Where porters work both night and day,
I ofttimes hear sweet Malpas Brook,
   That flows thrice fifty miles away.
And when I'm passing near St Paul's,
   I see, beyond the dome and crowd,
Twm Barium, that green pap in Gwent,
   With its dark nipple in a cloud.

William H. Davies' poem "The Mind's Liberty" was published in Georgian Poetry, 1913-1915. To read this poem in a digitized version of this publication, follow the links below:



Project Gutenberg (text version)

“Whitechapel” by Richard Aldington


Iron hoofs, iron wheels, iron din
Of drays and trams and feet passing;
Beaten to a vast mad cacophony.

In vain the shrill, far cry
Of swallows sweeping by ;
In vain the silence and green
Of meadows Apriline ;
In vain the clear white rain —

Soot; mud;
A nation maddened with labour;
Interminable collision of energies—

[ . . . ]

Richard Aldington's poem "Whitechapel" was published in the 1916 Some Imagist Poets anthology. To read the poem in full in a digitized version of this publication, follow the links below:


The Modernist Journals Project

Project Gutenberg (text version)

“A Terre” by Wilfred Owen

A Terre.

(Being the philosophy of many soldiers).

Sit on the bed, I'm blind, and three parts shell,
Be careful; can't shake hands now; never shall.
Both arms have mutinied against me,—brutes.
My fingers fidget like ten idle brats.

I tried to peg out soldierly,—no use!
One dies of war like any old disease.
This bandage feels like pennies on my eyes.
I have my medals?—Discs to make eyes close,
My glorious ribbons?—Ripped from my own back
In scarlet shreds. [That's for your poetry book.]

A short life and a merry one, my brick!
We used to say we'd hate to live dead-old,—
Yet now . . . I'd willingly be puffy, bald,
And patriotic. Buffers catch from boys
At least the jokes hurled at them. I suppose
Little I'd ever teach a son, but hitting,
Shooting, war, hunting, all the arts of hurting.
Well, that's what I learnt,—that, and making money.

Your fifty years ahead seem none too many?
Tell me how long I've got? God! For one year
To help myself to nothing more than air!
One Spring! Is one too good to spare, too long?
Spring wind would work its own way to my lung,
And grow me legs as quick as lilac-shoots.

My servant's lamed, but listen how he shouts!
When I'm lugged out, he'll still be good for that.
Here in this mummy-case, you know, I've thought
How well I might have swept his floors for ever,
I'd ask no night off when the bustle's over,
Enjoying so the dirt. Who's prejudiced
Against a grimed hand when his own's quite dust,
Less live than specks that in the sun-shafts turn,
Less warm than dust that mixes with arms' tan?
I'd love to be a sweep, now, black as Town,
Yes, or a muckman. Must I be his load?
O Life, Life, let me breath,—a dug-out rat!
Not worse than ours the existences rats lead—
Nosing along at night down some safe vat,
They find a shell-proof home before they rot.
Dead men may envy living mites in cheese,
Or good germs even. Microbes have their joys,
And subdivide, and never come to death,
Certainly flowers have the easiest time on earth.
"I shall be one with nature, herb, and stone,"
Shelley would tell me. Shelley would be stunned;
The dullest Tommy hugs that fancy now.
"Pushing up daisies" is their creed you know.
To grain, then, go my fat, to buds my sap,
For all the usefulness there is in soap.
D'you think the Boche will ever stew man-soup?
Some day, no doubt, if . . .

                                                Friend, be very sure
I shall be better off with plants that share
More peaceably the meadow and the shower.
Soft rains will touch me,—as they could touch once,
And nothing but the sun shall make me ware.
Your guns may crash around me. I'll not hear;
Or, if I wince, I shall not know I wince.
Don't take my soul's poor comfort for your jest.
Soldiers may grow a soul when turned to fronds,
But here the thing's best left at home with friends.

My soul's a little grief, grappling your chest,
To climb your throat on sobs; easily chased
On other sighs and wiped by fresher winds.

Carry my crying spirit till it's weaned
To do without what blood remained these wounds.

Wilfred Owen's poem "A Terre" was published in the 1919 Wheels anthology. To read this poem in a digitized version of this publication, follow the links below:


The Modernist Journals Project

Librivox audio recording hosted on Archive.org

“The Apprentice: I. Chanson de Blackboulé” by Emanuel Carnevali

The Apprentice


Chanson de Blackboulé

Just as the passing wind
catches the word of the glittering leaves,
I'd make your curled lips tingle
with a swift kiss — should you let me.
you see me bent and doubled up
by silence
in silence
and my words are harsh,
sounds of a body that breaks.

You turn your wide eyes,
ever bewildered,
bewildered as the sun when it glances
its first glance on the lake, at dawn,
you see all things with newness,
you see all,
all but my love.
Well, that's how it goes, eh, Annie?
All but my clumsy, self-accursed love
under my bent and folded
body awe-full of raptures,
awe-full of the tree-tops and leaves skipping, snap-
under those clouds, —
clouds that the moon is kissing
over my silent head.
That's how things go and that's
precisely how things should go —
that's how the wind presses our cheeks a moment
and dips
behind us away, it's how
it stretches a ribbon over our eyelids
and pulls it from behind, it's my heels pounding the
it's how things go, the way
they happen,
the morning, the evening and night —
how they come and they go and are going
and linger,
it's love that comes and love
that does not come.

I'll say no hands
will know your hands as mine do,
your hands that are soft as the grass is.
But there's no answer coming
to me, so
don't worry, Annie.
Don't worry, wide round eyes.
Do turn around and
around, wide round eyes,
and soft slender hands do whisper
of easy happiness and of a young
and you, dear child, do say,
do say and repeat,
do repeat most vigorously
that you don't love me.
I have today again uncovered the sky and have found
ever so cool and ever so new, under.
I wait for no answer, and no thing
to ask, and no thing
to say, besides what you know and I know
and that which
to the end of days
will have one and an only
and no meaning
and all meanings and

Emanuel Carnevali's "Chanson de Blackboulé" was the first poem in the sequence "The Apprentice" published in the third Others anthology (1920). To read this poem in this publication context, follow the link below: