“Trumpets” by Sacheverell Sitwell


Woven from the tangled hair of comets
On the never-ceasing shuttles of the wind,
Night, thick Tabernacle for the sun, is pitched;
And from the deepening gloom
Ring out the trumpets
Red and quick as sparks
Before the vivifying camp-fire of the Gods.

        *       *       *       *
The blare of a Trumpet is brazen, fierce
As the culminate charge that decides a battle.—
Great plumes like clouds wind-riven
Float behind each fighter,
And their armour glints and gleams in the Sun.—
The horses hooves beat loud, insistent,—
As ominous and dire as kettledrums;
The whole Earth's expectant.


Sacheverell Sitwell's poem "Trumpets" was published in the second "cycle" of the Wheels anthology in 1917. To read this poem in full in this publication context, follow the link(s) below:


Librivox audio recording hosted on Archive.org

The Modernist Journals Project

“My Lady Is Compared to a Young Tree” by Vachel Lindsay

My Lady Is Compared to a Young Tree

When I see a young tree
In its white beginning.
With white leaves
And white buds
Barely tipped with green,
In the April weather,
In the weeping sunshine —
Then I see my lady,
My democratic queen,
Standing free and equal
With the youngest woodland sapling
Swaying, singing in the wind,
Delicate and white:
Soul so near to blossom.
Fragile, strong as death;
A kiss from far-off Eden,
A flash of Judgment's trumpet —
April's breath.

Vachel Lindsay's poem "My Lady Is Compared to a Young Tree" was published in the 1919 Others anthology (published in 1920). To read this poem in this publication context, follow the link below:


“The Cuckoo Wood” by Edmund Beale Sargant

The Cuckoo Wood

Cuckoo, are you calling me,
Or is it a voice of wizardry?
In these woodlands I am lost,
From glade to glade of flowers tost.
Seven times I held my way,
And seven times the voice did say,
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! No man could
Issue from this underwood,
Half of green and half of brown,
Unless he laid his senses down.
Only let him chance to see
The snows of the anemone
Heaped above its greenery;
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! No man could
Issue from the master wood.

Magic paths there are that cross;
Some beset with jewelled moss
And boughs all bare; where others run,
Bluebells bathe in mist and sun
Past a clearing filled with clumps
Of primrose round the nutwood stumps;
All as gay as gay can be,
And bordered with dog-mercury,
The wizard flower, the wizard green,
Like a Persian carpet seen.
Brown, dead bracken lies between,
And wrinkled leaves, whence fronds of fern
Still untwist and upward turn.
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! No man could
Issue from this wizard wood,
Half of green, and half of brown,
Unless he laid his senses down.

Seven times I held my way
Where new heaps of brushwood lay,
All with withies loosely bound,
And never heard a human sound.
Yet men have toiled and men have rested
By yon hurdles darkly-breasted,
Woven in and woven out,
Piled four-square, and turned about
To show their white and sharpened stakes
Like teeth of hounds or fangs of snakes.
The men are homeward sped, for none
Loves silence and a sinking sun.
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Woodmen know
Souls are lost that hear it so,
Seven times upon the wind,
To lull the watch-dogs of the mind.

A stranger wood you shall not find!
Beech and birch and oak agree
Here to dwell in company.
Hazel, elder, few men could
Name the kinds of underwood.
Summer and winter haunt together,
And golden light with misty weather
'Tis summer where this beech is seen
Defenceless in its virgin green;
All its leaves are smooth and thin,
And the sunlight passes in,
Passes in and filters through
To a green heaven below the blue.
Low the branches fall and trace
A circle round that mystic place,
Guarded on its outward side
By hyacinths in all their pride;
And within dim moons appear,
Wax and wane I go not near! 
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! How we fear
Sights and sounds that come and go
Without a cause for men to know!

Why for a whispered doubt should I
Shun that other beech-tree high,
Red and watchful, still and bare,
With a thousand spears in air,
Guarding yet its treasured leaf
From storm and hail and winter's grief?
Unregarded on the ground
Leaves of yester-year abound,
For what is autumn's gold to one
That hoards a life scarce yet begun?
Let me so renew my youth,
I defend it, nail and tooth,
Rooting deep and lifting high.
For this my dead leaves hiss and sigh
And glow as on the downward road
To the dog-snake's dread abode.
Noxious things of earth and air,
Get you hence, for I prepare
To flaunt my beauty in the sun
When all beside me are undone.
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Pan shall see
The surge of my virginity
Overtop the sobered glade.
Luminous and unafraid
Near his sacred oak I'll spread
Lures to tempt him from his bed:
His couch, his lair his form shall be
By none but by the fair beech-tree.

O cunning Oak ! What is your skill
To hold the god against my will?
Keep your favours back like me,
With disfavour he shall see
Orange hues of jealousy:
Show your leaf in early prime,
It shall be dark before its time:
Me you shall not rival ever.
Silver Birch, would you endeavour,
Trembling in your bridal dress,
To win at last a dog's caress?
Through your twigs so thin and dark
Shows the black and ashen bark,
Like a face that underneath
Tightened eyebrows looks on death.
Think not, dwarf, that Pan shall find
Aught about you to his mind.
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! All shall try
To win him. But the beech and I,
Man and tree made one at last,
Alone have power to hold him fast.

Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Forth I creep,
When the flowers fall asleep,
And upgather odours rare
Floating on the misty air,
All to be imprisoned where
My sap is rising till they reach
The swelling twigs, and thence shall each
Separate scent be shaken free
As my flowers and leaves agree.
Rare in sooth those flowers shall be:
Cunningly will I devise
Colours to delight the eyes,
Slipping from my fissured stem
To get by stealth or stratagem
The glory of the morning petal.
Where the bees at noontide settle,
Mine to rifle all their sweets:
Honey and bee-bread on the teats
Of my blossoms shall be spread,
Till the lime-trees shake with dread
Of the marvels still to come
When their bees about me hum.

Welcome, welcome, cloudless night,
Is our labour ended quite?
Are the mortal and the tree
Now made one in ecstasy,
One in foretaste of the dawn?
Crescent moon, sink, sink outworn!
Stars be buried, stars be born,
Mount and dip to tell aright
The doings of the morrow's light!
Mists, assemble, hide me quite,
Till the sun with growing strength
Grips your veils, and length by length
Tears them down from head to foot;
Then to the challenge I am put!

Tell me, busy, busy glade,
Half in light, and half in shade,
Is your world of wood-folk there?
All are come but the mole and hare;
One is blind, and underground
Of that tumult hears no sound;
The other Pan has crept within,
To bask afield in the hare-skin.
All are come of woodland fowl
But the cuckoo and the owl;
The owl's asleep, and the cuckoo -bird
Nowhere seen is eachwhere heard.
Cuckoo ! Cuckoo ! Those that see
The leafing of this great beech-tree,
And its flowers of every kind,
Woodland lovers have in mind;
Those that breathe the scented wind,
Or touch this bark of satin, could
Never issue from our wood.

Tell me, busy, busy glade,
Are little flying things afraid?
All are come of aery folk,
Gnats that hover like a smoke,
Butterflies and humble-bees,
Insects winged in all degrees,
Honey-toilers, pleasure-makers,
Of labours and of joys forsakers,
Round these boughs to live and die.
Only the moth and the dragon-fly
Keep their haunts and come not nigh:
The moth is moonstruck, she must creep
With twitching wings, and half-asleep,
Through folds of darkness ; and that other,
The dragon-fly, Narcissus' brother,
Flashes all his burnished mail
In a still pool adown the dale.

Tell me, busy, busy glade,
Shifting aye in light and shade,
Are the dryads peeping forth,
More in wonder than in wrath,
Each beneath her own dear tree
Parting her hair that she may see
How queens put on their sovereignty?
All are come of Pan's own race,
Nymphs and satyrs fill the place,
Necks outstretched and ears a-twitching, 
That Pan may know of all this witching. 
Heedless stumble the goatfeet
Till four-footed things retreat.
Cries of Ah ! and Ay ! and Eh!
Scare the forest birds away,
And their notes that rang so clear
At dawn, you now shall rarely hear:
Only a robin here and there
Pitches high his trembling voice
In a challenge to rejoice.

Cuckoo! Cuckoo! How two notes
Stolen from all woodland throats
Make the satyrs stand like stone,
Waiting for Pan to call his own!
How the couching dryads seem
To root themselves as in a dream,
And the naiads, wan and whist,
To melt into an evening mist!

Tell me, silent, silent glade,
All in light that once was shade,
All in shade that once was light,
How went the creatures from my sight?
Where are the shapes that turned to stone,
And my tree that reigned alone?
Red and watchful, still and bare,
With a thousand spears in air,
Stands the beech that you would bind
Unlawfully to human mind.
Gone is every woodland elf
To the mighty god himself.
Mortal! You yourself are fast!
Doubt not Pan shall come at last
To put a leer within your eyes
That pry into his mysteries.
He shall touch the busy brain
Lest it ever teem again;
Point the ears and twist the feet,
Till by day you dare not meet
Men, or in the failing light
Mutter more than, Friend, good-night!

Tell me, whispering, whispering glade,
Am I eager or afraid?
Do I wish the god to come?
What shall I say if he be dumb?
Tell me, wherefore hiss and sigh
Those shrivelled leaves? Has Pan gone by?
Why do your thousand pools of light
Gaze like eyes that fade at night?
Pan has but twain, Pan's eyes are bright!
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! See, yon stakes
Gape and grin like fangs of snakes;
Not snakes nor hounds are mouthing thus;
Pan himself is watching us.
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Now
The god is breasting the hill-brow.
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Pan is near:
Joy runs trembling back to fear.
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! All my blood
Knocks through the heart whose every thud
Chokes me, blinds me, drains my madness.
As one half-drowned, I feel life's gladness
Ooze from each pore. Towards the sun
Downhill I reel that fain would run.
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Thornless seem
Briars that part as in a dream.
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Hazel-boughs
Hurt not though they blood the brows.

Cuckoo! In a meadow prone
At last I lie, my wits my own;
And in my hand I clasp the flower
To counteract that magic power;
The cuckoo-flower, in a lilac sheet
Under body, head and feet.
Above me apple-blossoms fleck
The cloudless sky, a neighbouring beck
With many a happy gurgle goes
Down to the farm through alder-rows.
Strange it is, and it is sweet,
To hear the distant mill-wheel beat,
And the kindly cries of men
Turning the cattle home again,
The clank of pails and all the shades
Of laughter of the busy maids.
Now is come the evening star,
And my limbs new-blooded are.
So beside the stream I choose
A path that patient anglers use
Which with many twists and turns
Brings me where a candle burns,
A lowly light, through cottage pane
Seen and hid and seen again.
Cuckoo! Now you call in vain.
I am far and I am free
From all woodland wizardry!

Edmund Beale Sargant's poem "The Cuckoo Wood" was published in Georgian Poetry 1911-1912. To read this poem in digitized versions of this publication, follow the link(s) below:


“I” (London, my beautiful,) by F.S. Flint


London, my beautiful,
it is not the sunset
nor the pale green sky
shimmering through the curtain
of the silver birch,
nor the quietness;
it is not the hopping of birds
upon the lawn,
nor the darkness
stealing over all things
that moves me.

F.S. Flint's poem "I" was the first poem in a sequence published in Des Imagistes (1914), the first of the imagist anthologies. The anthology was first published as an issue of the little magazine The Glebe. To read this poem or the sequence in digitized versions of Des Imagistes, follow the links below:

Archive.org (Publisher: Albert and Charles Boni, NY)

The Blue Mountain Project (The Glebe)

The Modernist Journals Project (The Glebe)

The Modernist Journals Project (Publisher: Albert and Charles Boni, NY)

The Modernist Journals Project (Publisher: The Poetry Bookshop, London) 



“Question” by Iris Tree


And afterwards, when honour has made good,
And all you think you fight for shall take place,
A late rejoicing to a crippled race;
The bulldog's teeth relax and snap for food,
The eagles fly to their forsaken brood,
Within the ravaged nest. When no disgrace
Shall spread a blush cross the haggard face
Of anxious Pride, already flushed with blood.


Iris Tree's poem "Question" was published in the second "cycle" of the Wheels anthology in 1917. To read (or listen) this poem in full, follow the links to digitized versions of this publication below:


The Modernist Journals Project

Librivox Audio Recording

“Danse Russe” by William Carlos Williams

Danse Russe

If I when my wife is sleeping
and the baby and Kathleen
are sleeping
and the sun is a flame-white disc
in silken mists
above shining trees,
if I in my north room
danced naked, grotesquely,
before my mirror


William Carlos Williams' poem "Danse Russe" was published in the 1917 Others anthology. To read the poem in full, click the following links:



“Fulfilment” by Robert Nichols


Was there love once? I have forgotten her.
Was there grief once? grief yet is mine.
Other loves I have, men rough, but men who stir
More grief, more joy, than love of thee and thine.

Faces cheerful, full of whimsical mirth,
Lined by the wind, burned by the sun;
Bodies enraptured by the abounding earth,
As whose children we are brethren: one.

And any moment may descend hot death
To shatter limbs! pulp, tear, blast
Beloved soldiers who love rough life and breath
Not less for dying faithful to the last.

O the fading eyes, the grimed face turned bony,
Oped mouth gushing, fallen head,
Lessening pressure of a hand shrunk, clammed, and
O sudden spasm, release of the dead!

Was there love once? I have forgotten her.
Was there grief once? grief yet is mine.
O loved, living, dying, heroic soldier,
All, all, my joy, my grief, my love, are thine!


Robert Nichols' poem "Fulfilment" was published in Georgian Poetry 1916-1917. To read the poem in this publication context, click the following links:


Project Gutenberg (text version)

“Arizona: The Windmills” by John Gould Fletcher

The Windmills

The windmills, like great sunflowers of steel,
Lift themselves proudly over the straggling houses ;
And at their feet the deep blue-green alfalfa
Cuts the desert like the stroke of a sword.

Yellow melon flowers
Crawl beneath the withered peach-trees ;
A date-palm throws its heavy fronds of steel
Against the scoured metallic sky.

The houses, doubled-roofed for coolness,
Cower amid the manzanita scrub.
A man with jingling spurs
Walks heavily out of a vine-bowered doorway,
Mounts his pony, rides away.

The windmills stare at the sun.
The yellow earth cracks and blisters.
Everything is still.


John Gould Fletcher's sequence "Arizona" containing the poem "The Windmills" was published in the 1916 Some Imagist Poets anthology. To read this poem in full in this publication context, follow the links below:


The Modernist Journals Project

Project Gutenberg (text version)

“The Merry-Go-Round” by Aldous Huxley

The Merry-Go-Round

The machine is ready to start. The symbolic beasts
grow resty, curvetting where they stand at their places
in the great blue circle of the year. The Showman's voice
rings out. 'Montez, mesdames et messieurs, montez. You,
sir, must bestride the Ram. You will take the Scorpion.
Yours, madame, is the Goat. As for you there, blackguard
boy, you must be content with the Fishes. I have allotted
you the Virgin, mademoiselle.' . . . 'Polisson !' 'Pardon,
pardon. Evidemment, c'est le Sagittaire qu'on demande.
Ohé, les dards! The rest must take what comes. The
Twins shall counterpoise one another in the Scales. So, so.
Now away we go, away.'


Aldous Huxley's poem "The Merry-Go-Round" was published in the 1918 "cycle" of Wheels. The poem can be read it in its entirety in digitized versions of this publication by following the links below:


The Modernist Journals Project


“Banal Sojourn” by Wallace Stevens

Banal Sojourn

Two wooden tubs of blue hydrangeas stand at the
       foot of the stone steps.
The sky is a blue gum streaked with rose. The
       trees are black.
The grackles crack their throats of bone in the
       smooth air.
Moisture and heat have swollen the garden into a
       slum of bloom.
Pardie! Summer is like a fat beast, sleepy in


Wallace Stevens' poem "Banal Sojourn" was published in the 1919 Others anthology. The original formatting has been respected. To read the poem in its entirety in this publication context follow the link below: