Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern American Poetry
Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry.  1919.
Arthur Davison Ficke. 1883–
99. Portrait of an Old Woman
SHE limps with halting painful pace, 
  Stops, wavers and creeps on again; 
Peers up with dim and questioning face, 
  Void of desire or doubt or pain. 
Her cheeks hang gray in waxen folds         5
  Wherein there stirs no blood at all. 
A hand, like bundled cornstalks, holds 
  The tatters of a faded shawl. 
Where was a breast, sunk bones she clasps; 
  A knot jerks where were woman-hips;  10
A ropy throat sends writhing gasps 
  Up to the tight line of her lips. 
Here strong the city's pomp is poured... 
  She stands, unhuman, bleak, aghast: 
An empty temple of the Lord  15
  From which the jocund Lord has passed. 
He has builded him another house, 
  Whenceforth his flame, renewed and bright, 
Shines stark upon these weathered brows 
  Abandoned to the final night.  20

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