Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
En Masse
By Baker Brownell
YOU too, America, have seen the hugeness of days
Break with unguessed being out of the sullen past;
To you the massive hour has called,
Halting you amid random progress,
Giving revelation, blasting, huge, of its being.        5
Ungainly grandeur rises from your soil,
Doom light stands above man’s dank shadow.
Above wrangle, above hypocrisy,
Light lifts its being, America,
Hugely above you.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
Terrible fluidities lurch through you, America.
Blind, slathering, fluent, the liquid of passion
Lifts you upon dark urgencies of being.
Tides move with terrible, unknowing will;
Grim tides come from the sea        15
Lifting all upon the breast of being, holding all
In the cruelty of oneness. The flood,
The flood of being, the surge
Of mobbed thought! The ebb, America,
The ebb again!
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
The skin of time bursts with thick noises,
Formless, spilling in huge, helpless flux.
Gorged moments open with sodden split;
The clog and glut build shapeless things.
Time lolls in unexpected disgorgement—        25
Release, heavy war, loosed inhibitions; the sullen flux
Begins. All is overwhelming, limp, massive.
Where are the smooth Latin hours,
Neat with emptiness, indifferent optimism?
How has time debouched on unready men        30
These guttural, dizzy mists,
This massive slime of being?
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
Fulness lies across these lives
In savage, self-created burden. Terrors
Raise themselves hugely from the soul        35
Like the massive water of breakers.
The inhuman, passionate quest rolls
Monstrously across placid lives, building
Immensity in staggered, foaming heaps.
Whence the blind utterness of these aggregations,        40
America? Who validates this load—
Congested, heaving experience, discreet things, poured
In immense preoccupation into the soul?
Whence the massive utterness of circumstance?
After Word

Where spaceless night rests upon the water
Can you find being:
There a star wounds the liquid darkness
With still, white stab;
A ripple lifts its soft load of light,
And returns to the fluid soul        50
Of the night water;
Light sinks pervasively into the textures of darkness,
Deep into the dusk of water;
The being of light sifts into all its spaces;
Light, ineffably its meaning        55
Fumes in fragrant faintness
Amid drenching visions.

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