“The Old Ships” by James Elroy Flecker

The Old Ships

I have seen old ships sail like swans asleep
Beyond the village which men still call Tyre,
With leaden age o'ercargoed, dipping deep
For Famagusta and the hidden sun
That rings black Cyprus with a lake of fire;
And all those ships were certainly so old—
Who knows how oft with squat and noisy gun,
Questing brown slaves or Syrian oranges,
The pirate Genoese
Hell-raked them till they rolled
Blood, water, fruit and corpses up the hold.
But now through friendly seas they softly run,
Painted the mid-sea blue or shore-sea green.
Still patterned with the vine and grapes in gold.

But I have seen
Pointing her shapely shadows from the dawn
And image tumbled on a rose-swept bay
A drowsy ship of some yet older day;
And, wonder's breath indrawn,
Thought I—who knows—who knows—but in that
(Fished up beyond Aeaea, patched up new
—Stern painted brighter blue—)
That talkative, bald-headed seaman came
(Twelve patient comrades sweating at the oar)
From Troy's doom-crimson shore.
And with great lies about his wooden horse
Set the crew laughing, and forgot his course.

It was so old a ship—who knows, who knows?
—And yet so beautiful, I watched in vain
To see the mast burst open with a rose,
And the whole deck put on its leaves again.

James Elroy Flecker's poem "The Old Ships" 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)

Fragment “. . . That night I loved you” by F.S. Flint


. . . That night I loved you
in the candlelight.
Your golden hair
strewed the sweet whiteness of the pillows
and the counterpane.
Ο the darkness of the corners,
the warm air, and the stars
framed in the casement of the ships' lights!

[ . . . ]

F.S. Flint's poem fragment ". . . That night I loved you" was published in the 1915 Some Imagist Poets anthology. To read this poem in full in a digitized version of this publication, follow the links below:



The Modernist Journals Project

“Theatre of Varieties” by Aldous Huxley

Theatre of Varieties

Circle on circle the hanging gardens descend,
Slope from the upper darkness, each flower face
Open, turned to the light and laughter and life
Trembling heat, quicken and awake the air.
Flutes and crying of strings assail the sense—
Music, the revelation and marvellous lie;
What is, what is not, truth and falsehood,
Swim and mingle together.
On the bright trestles tumblers, tamers of beasts,
Dancers and clowns affirm their fury of life,
And in a thousand minds beget a thousand
Hallucinations, dreams of beauty, nightmares.

"The World-renowned Van Hogen Mogen in
The Master Mystery of Modern Times. . . . "
He talks, he talks; more powerfully than music
His quick words hammer on the minds of men.
"Observe this hat, Ladies and gentlemen;
Empty, observe, empty as the universe
Before the Head for which this Hat is made
Was, or could think. Empty—observe, observe. . . .'
The rabbit kicks; a bunch of paper flowers
Blossoms in the limelight; paper tape unrolls,
Endless, a clue. "Ladies and gentlemen . . . ."
Sharp, sharp on malleable minds his words
Hammer. The little Indian boy
Enters the basket. Bright, an Ethiop's sword
Transfixes it and bleeding is withdrawn.
Horror, like a magnet, draws the watching crowds
Toward the scene of massacre. The walls
Bend forward to the revealing light,
And the pale faces are a thousand gargoyles
Thrust out, spouting the ichor of their souls.
"Ladies and gentlemen," the great Van Hogen Mogen
Smiles and is kind. A puddle of dark blood
Creeps slowly out. " The irremediable
Has ceased to be."
Empty of all but blood the basket gapes.
" Arise! " he calls and blows his horn. " Arise! "


[ . . . ]


Aldous Huxley's poem "Theatre of Varieties" was published in 1920 in the fifth "cycle" of the Wheels anthologies. To read this poem in full in a digitized version of this publication, follow the links below:


The Modernist Journals Project

“Keller Gegen Dom” by William Carlos Williams

Keller Gegen Dom

Witness, would you—

one more young man,

in the evening of his love

hurrying to confession,—

steps down a gutter

crosses a street,

goes in at a doorway,


[ . . . ]


William Carlos Williams' poem "Keller Gegen Dom" was published in the 1917 Others anthology. To read this poem in full in a digitized version of this publication, follow the links below: