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.
 
Prussians Don’t Believe in Dreams
By Morris Gilbert
 
A. D., 1916

        Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair!

YESTERDAY I went by chance
Down the by-road called Romance,
Past the wicked witch’s grate
Just outside the village gate.
But the oven-fire was dead,        5
And I saw no ginger-bread
Youths and maidens propped with care
Up against the wall; and there
Was never sign of cat or toad,
Or broomstick with its eery load;        10
Nothing but an empty thatch
Where bats and mice would scorn to scratch.
 
Past the gate within the town
Red-tiled roofs were tumbling down,
While the town-clock, smoky, dour,        15
Struck a melancholy hour—
(Though it used to run askew
And skip a century or two
As it chose, and spin around
Backwards if it liked the sound        20
Of an “In that foreign clime….”
Or a “Once upon a time….”).
Tufted grass grew up between
Cobble-stones that once had seen
Fiddling gallows-birds, sad kings,        25
Golden swans, and stranger things;
Where once plodded merrily
’Prentices, gone off to see
The world, and with an artless ease
Bring giants suppliant to their knees….        30
 
Then I saw far down the way
An old man, crippling, bent, and gray.
 
“My name is Hans,” said he, and smiled—
“Hans in luck!—the Sunday child!”
Here was fortune come at last,        35
And Hans spoke up of what was past:
 
“Times have changed since I was young,
The Talking Oak has lost its tongue—
No more giants pass by here;
I’ve seen no dwarfs this forty year;        40
Youngest sons don’t come to good
These days as their grandaddies would—
Who is left? you ask—let’s see,
Why, Glück is left—and then there’s me….
 
“But Glück is gouty, tired, and gray;        45
Cinderella died today;
Both the tailor’s dancing elves
Are statues left on dusty shelves;
Snow White long has hobbled on
Through scorning to oblivion.        50
There’s one queazy snivelling hag
Living still in rag and tag;
But I don’t remember well
Her name—it might be Rapunzel!”
        Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair!
 
 
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