Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > The New Poetry: An Anthology
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  The New Poetry: An Anthology.  1917.
21. Rue Bonaparte
By Joseph Warren Beach
YOU that but seek your modest rolls and coffee,
When you have passed the bar, and have saluted
Its watchful madam, then pray enter softly
The inner chamber, even as one who treads
The haunts of mating birds, and watch discreetly        5
Over your paper’s edge. There in the corner,
Obscure, ensconced behind the uncovered table,
A man and woman keep their silent tryst.
Outside the morning floods the pavement sweetly;
Yonder aloft a maid throws back the shutters;        10
The hucksters utter modulated cries
As wistful as some old pathetic ballad.
Within the brooding lovers, unaware,
Sit quiet hand in hand, or in low whispers
Communicate a more articulate love.        15
Sometimes she plays with strings and, gently leaning
Against his shoulder, shows him childish tricks.
She has not touched the glass of milk before her,
Her breakfast and the price of their admittance.
She has a look devoted and confiding        20
And might be pretty were not life so hard.
But he, gaunt as his rusty bicycle
That stands against the table, and with features
So drawn and stark, has only futile strength.
The love they cherish in this stolen meeting        25
Through all the day that follows makes her sweeter,
And him perhaps it only leaves more bitter.
But you that have not love at all, old men
That warm your fingers by this fire, discreetly
Play out your morning game of dominoes.        30


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