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 Dreamers of Death
By Julia Cooley Altrocchi
 
O EARTH, I wonder if your trees and flowers
Have moods of death, through their unmortal hours,
Like us, your dreaming children. Or have they
Sprouted from your clay so short a way,
Rooted and planted in your procreant heart        5
So deep and warm and passionate a part
Of your great pattern and the mothering whole,
That they know only you, body and soul,
Seed of your soil, and root and stock and vine,
The fruit and flower only an up-thrust sign        10
Of your eternity?—that they are you?
How should they feel the change of old and new?
How should they dream of difference or death,
Whose withering, unto the utmost breath,
Returns into the re-creative sod,        15
To rise into re-petaled proofs of God?—
Whose fates are one with the on-sweeping way
Of beautiful progression and decay—
The sprout, the stem, the radicle, the spray,
Perfume and ashes of petals blown away?        20
How should their branches hold the smallest dread
That they must one day alter and be dead?
How should they shrink from death, who have no birth,
Who are not even children, who are Earth?
 
We only have forsaken you for birth,        25
Severed the cord that binds us, mother, Earth—
Sought separate life and individual breath,
And found upon the outer highway—death.
Until we grow into your heart again,
Strike root and live with you, we shall know pain,        30
And all the lonely terrors of our ways—
The disinherited and dismal days,
The suffering selves, the alien entities,
The strange desires and empty destinies.
Restore us deep into your deathless scheme.        35
Dissolve our little spirits, dream on dream,
Until they blend with wisdom of the trees,
Recurrent flowers and root-eternities.
 
 
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