Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. (1878–1962).  Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920.  1920.
Hazel Hall
A Child on the Street

STRANGE that she can keep with ease
A pace so free and fleet,
When such relentless destinies
Stalk at her feet.
Strange she does not see the blur        5
Where their shadows run
With her footfall, sinister
In the sun.
Some are vague as shadow cast
By clouds where long hills dip,        10
And some sharp like the broken mast
Of a drifted ship.
Still with here incredulous tread
Defying the darkened ground,
She keeps a pace whose echoes shed        15
Laughing sound.
And still close at her tripping heel
The old shadows stir,
Deepening as they steal
Nearer her.        20
A Very Old Woman

She passes by though long ago
Time drained the life out of her tread;
She died then, yet she does not know
That she is dead.
Her footsteps are indefinite        25
With sound, and who are dead should pass
Sandaled as the wind when it
Moves through the grass.
Her shadow twitches on the walk,
And who are not of life should run        30
Shadowless as a lily’s stalk
In full day’s sun.
Yet these cling to her—stricken sound
And shadow casting ragged stains;
They drag behind her on the ground        35
Like broken chains.
It is silence mastering her tread,
Darkness, insidious and slow,
Blotting her imprint … but she is dead
And does not know.

  The New Republic


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