Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
In the Frail Wood
By Marsden Hartley
From “Kaleidoscope”

How she likened them to young gazelles
Disporting in a quiet glade, with their thin legs
And their large wondering eyes,
Full of delicate trembling—shy, tender, suspecting,        5
Furtively watching for the stranger in the wood.
L’éventail exquis! la main d’ivoire!
Les yeux de gazelles!—glimmering, provocative
Magic tumbling out of them like bronzed hoops
Or circled ropes to dance with like gilded wire.        10
The hand touches a frail cheek, and faints
In its cushioned depths with the excess
Of its palloring fragility.
Light zephyrs hover over the edges of frail lace,
And roll from off dark coils of ribboned hair—        15
Great bird-swings poised at the nape of the childish neck
Setting out the white throat from the blue or rose shadow—
Blue, and a far cerise, with a gentle dove-like grey
Encircling them, covering them with mists of timidity.
Speak they in concert of a little girl’s morning,        20
As she steps frailly out of the linen and the lace
That folded her young virgin limbs from the terrors
Of the monstrous undivulging night:
Stepping out upon the edges of a world too bright
With glinting facets of a diamonded despair,        25
Into the busy bustling world of young gazelles,
With their long thin legs tripping noiselessly;
Into the thronging glade of girlish hopes and fears,
In a harsh world where the folding and the unfolding
Of tenderly sequined fans makes a living music        30
For their anguished eye and ear,
And a wall to keep the beasty wolves from their fingertips,
And the tongues of hummingbirds distantly
From their young and frightened throats.
I hear the hearts of little girls beating        35
Against the hearts of the young gazelles!
It makes a white commotion in forests of thick pearl;
And their young white fingers waver as would
Young jasmine buds on the fallen embers of the breeze.

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