Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
Dead Queens
By John Rodker
 
“There come not now … such gold-giving lords.”

  WOMEN of large hips, small breasts,
And high white shoulders,
Red hair plaited
And pale steadfast eyes,
You are the high romance—        5
Lilith, Iseult and Guinevere;
You were fierce lovers,
Not caring to be loved.
 
  Always your lovers fared the perilous quest.
Patiently maybe you waited,        10
Maybe loved another—
What mattered it?
 
  All passion was in you, all sweetness.
Your lovers in the far-off courts of kings,
Feasted … tarrying with many women.        15
 
  Patiently you waited,
Maybe loved another—
What mattered it?
 
  Dead queens, dead queens,
Your lovers left you        20
When cheeks grew pale, lips faded—
Yet you’d not tie them to you
With their pity.
Dead queens!
In that twilight        25
Where you lived when love had left you,
Often the rumor came
Of Tristrem and of Lancelot
Riding afar …
Yet that was nought to you….        30
Time flies, love dies and must die,
Why weep then?
In your king’s beds
You’ll not remember
The sweet or bitter of love.        35
 
  Lilith laughs at the old Adam,
Caught serpent-wise by the swart eastern woman
God gave him to his sorrow!
Her sorrows are his sorrow,
Her thoughts his thoughts;        40
For she has bound him to her
With the strong toils of his pity—
His heart would burst to break them.
 
 
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