“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