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 White Bird
By Lola Ridge
 
From “In Russia”

MAN of the flame-eyes
And mouth with the bitter twist of in-grown laughter,
And little bald man … whose seeming stillness
Is akin to the velocity of a spinning star
Holding its perfect poise—        5
You two yea-sayers
Beetling over the little deniers,
Two great levelers, building from the earth up, among puttiers and pluggers of rotten piles—
You of the rich life, running in ample measure, amidst life deleted of its old raw fire as earth is deleted of its coal and iron—
You be mighty hunters and keepers,        10
Trotsky and Lenine—
Yet can you hold … the unconstrainable One
Of the slow and flaming deaths
And multiple resurrections?
 
Hands, reaching in hundreds of millions,        15
Backs, straightening under the keeling floor of the world,
Can you hold the great white bird?—
She that sweeps low over the chain-gangs
When they glance up from their stone-breaking
Into morning’s burning gold;        20
She that goes down into underground cells,
Sending the cool wind of her wings
Through unsevering stone …
And departs, unbeknown, from those who announce her,
Saying: “Lo, she is ours!”        25
 
Ah, what a mighty destiny shall be yours,
Should you persuade her—
The Unconstrainable One
Who has slid out of the arms of so many lovers,
Leaving not a feather in their hands!        30
 
 
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