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.
 
The Procession
By M. D. Armstrong
 
        PAVEN gray,
        The triumphal way
Clove the plain like a javelin-head,
Circled the hill in a broad progression
And up to the white acropolis sped:        5
Waiting the feet of the great procession
It lay to the noonday sun outspread.
 
Ninety columns of rough-hewn granite
Edged the way in a lordly line—
        Rocks hewn down        10
        From a mountain-crown
In giant ages by kings divine:
Each—the leap of a man might span it—
Towered as high as a forest pine.
 
        Dust looms gray        15
        Down the pillared way,
Foaming to gold where the sun breaks in.
They are coming. The noise grows deeper and duller:
See through the great blocks, out and in,
Flashes of sharp and insolent color        20
Leap through the crowd with the marching din!
 
The rumor thickens:—a fear! wonder!
Neighings and shouts and the tramp that casts
        Like a smoking pyre
        The white dust higher!        25
The pikes are clustered like harbor-masts,
The chariot-wheels on the pavement thunder,
And the horses leap at the trumpet-blasts.
 
        The heralds troop
        In a serried group;        30
The long bright shafts of their trumpets rise
Like sun-rays over a mountain shooting;
Fire on the bright brass flashes and flies,
Fierce as the raucous music bruiting
Triumph up to the holloing skies.        35
 
Banners wavered with lazy flappings
Over the tall crests dancing there.
        Like beasts afraid
        The long horns brayed
Harsh through the hot and dusty air,        40
And greens and scarlets of robes and trappings
Threaded the rocks with a sultry glare.
 
        Now they strode
        Up the mounting road,
Their rich barbaric music sounding        45
Tawny and fierce, till it shrank and paled,
As the carolling cohort dwindled, rounding
The curve of the hill, and its echoes hailed
Far, from the loftier crags rebounding.
 
Fires from the foundering sun-ship curdle        50
Westering cloud-banks. High and afar,
        The marching lines
        On the curved inclines
Gleam like a string of jewels that star
The breast of the towering hill they girdle        55
With emerald, ruby and golden spar.
 
        In the phoenix-glow
        Of the sunset, lo
A crown of fire was the far-seen crowd
High on the terraced summit swaying.        60
The hill that rose to the evening cloud
Stood like an altar where, after the slaying,
Flames of the offering leapt and bowed.
 
And over that ocean of men impassioned,
Men whom the current of life bore high,        65
        In the great repose
        Of godhead rose,
Throned august in the golden sky,
From the pure white splendor of marble fashioned,
The porch of the Temple of Victory.        70
 
 
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