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 Sleeper
By Jessica Nelson North
 
From “At Night”

  Night.  O HEAVY breather in the surf of sleep,
What is that strange and rosy slenderness
You hold against your heart with so much tenderness?
  The Sleeper.  It is my wife I hold—
I love her more than life.        5
She has hair of bronze and gold,
And in twin strands divides it;
It lies across her bosom surplice-wise.
This I know to be true though darkness hides it.
  Night.  Now all things false dissolve beneath the moon!        10
This is a sheaf of whispering dreams you hold,
Bound by the tawny sinews of your arm.
They nod together with plumes of bronze and gold,
They breathe and are warm;
They speak together in a sibilant tune.        15
  The Sleeper.  It is my own wife.
Her mouth, that is merry and wise,
Is shut; and the lids are shut that cover
Her faithful eyes.
  Night.  A sheaf of dreams—hush!        20
 
  The First Dream.    She is untrue,
    Brother and brother!
    This one is new—
    Where is the other?
  The Second Dream.    I hear men say        25
    He had ceased to love her.
    Even today
    His voice can move her.
  The Third Dream.    I have seen her tremble
    When she meets his eyes.        30
    She is deft with lies,
    She is quick to dissemble.
  The Fourth Dream.    How is this done,
    Brother and brother,
    To sleep with one        35
    And dream of another?
 
  Night.  A sheaf of dreams, of dreams …
  The Sleeper.    My wife.
    My wife.
 
 
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