Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern American Poetry
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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry.  1919.
 
Percy MacKaye. 1875–
 
69. The Child-Dancers
 
A BOMB has fallen over Notre Dame: 
Germans have burned another Belgian town: 
Russians quelled in the east: England in qualm: 
  
I closed my eyes, and laid the paper down. 
  
Gray ledge and moor-grass and pale bloom of light         5
By pale blue seas! 
What laughter of a child world-sprite, 
Sweet as the horns of lone October bees, 
Shrills the faint shore with mellow, odd delight? 
What elves are these  10
In smocks gray-blue as sea and ledge, 
Dancing upon the silvered edge 
Of darkness—each ecstatic one 
Making a happy orison, 
With shining limbs, to the low-sunken sun?—  15
See: now they cease 
Like nesting birds from flight: 
Demure and debonair 
They troop beside their hostess' chair 
To make their bedtime courtesies:  20
  "Spokoinoi notchi!—Gute Nacht! 
  Bon soir! Bon soir!—Good night!" 
  
What far-gleaned lives are these 
Linked in one holy family of art?— 
Dreams: dreams once Christ and Plato dreamed:  25
How fair their happy shades depart! 
  
Dear God! how simple it all seemed, 
Till once again 
Before my eyes the red type quivered: Slain: 
Ten thousand of the enemy.—  30
Then laughter! laughter from the ancient sea 
Sang in the gloaming: Athens! Galilee! 
And elfin voices called from the extinguished light:— 
  "Spokoinoi notchi!—Gute Nacht! 
  Bon soir! Bon soir!—Good night!"  35
 
 
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