Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > The New Poetry: An Anthology
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  The New Poetry: An Anthology.  1917.
 
179. Traümerei at Ostendorff’s
 
By William Laird
 
 
I ATE at Ostendorff’s, and saw a dame
  With eager golden eyes, paired with a red,
Bald, chilled, old man. Piercing the clatter came
  Keen Traümerei. On the sound he bowed his head,
  Covered his eyes, and looked on things long sped.        5
Her white fierce fingers strained, but could not stir
His close-locked hands, nor bring him back to her.
 
Let him alone, bright lady; for he clips
  A fairer lass than you, with all your fire:
Let him alone; he touches sweeter lips        10
  Than yours he hired, as others yet shall hire:
  Leave him the quickening pang of clean desire,
Even though vain: nor taint those spring winds blown
From banks of perished bloom: let him alone.
 
Bitter-sweet melody, that call’st to tryst        15
  Love from the hostile dark, would God thy breath
Might break upon him now through thickening mist,
  The trumpet-summons of imperial Death;
  That now, with fire-clean lips where quivereth
Atoning sorrow, he shall seek the eyes        20
Long turned towards earth from fields of paradise.
 
In vain: by virtue of a far-off smile,
  Men may be deaf a space to gross behests
Of nearer voices; for some little while
  Sharp pains of youth may burn in old men’s breasts.        25
  But—men must eat, though angels be their guests:
The waiter brought spaghetti; he looked up,
Hemmed, blinked, and fiddled with his coffee-cup.
 

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