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.
 
51. The King
 
By Skipwith Cannéll
 
 
SEVEN full-paunched eunuchs came to me,
Bearing before them upon a silver shield
The secrets of my enemy.
 
As they crossed my threshold to stand,
With stately and hypocritical gesture        5
In a row before me,
One stumbled.
The dull, incurious eyes of the others
Blazed into no laughter,
Only a haggard malice        10
At the discomfiture
Of their companion.
 
Why should such T h i n g s have power
Not spoken for in the rules of men?
 
I would not receive them.        15
With my head covered I motioned them
To go forth from my presence.
 
Where shall I find an enemy
Worthy of me as him they defaced?
 
As they left me,        20
Bearing with them
Lewd shield and scarlet crown,
One paused upon the threshold,
Insolent,
To sniff a flower.        25
 
Even him I permitted to go forth
Safely.
.    .    .    .    .    .
 
Therefore
I have renounced my kingdom;
In a little bronze boat I have set sail        30
Out
Upon the sea.
 
There is no land, and the sea
Is black like the cypresses waiting
At midnight in the place of tombs;        35
Is black like the pool of ink
In the palm of a soothsayer.
 
My boat
Fears the white-lipped waves
That snatch at her,        40
Hungrily,
Furtively,
As they steal past like cats
Into the night:
And beneath me, in their hidden places,        45
The great fishes talk of me
In a tongue I have forgotten.
 

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