Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
By Malcolm Cowley
From “Three Portraits”

THE DANCE was over. There was one last fiddle
Playing a crazy jig, but no one listened.
In couples his young friends walked through the meadow,
And down the lane. He watched their bobbing lanterns
That disappeared into the woods, and thought,        5
“She will be coming soon, she will be coming.”
His mare stamped restlessly. In the dull wood-lot,
Two ghostly owls were mating. Bullfrogs groaned
Across the marshes; and in some fence corner,
Over their liquor, farmers were carousing.        10
But in his ears the shouting and the laughter,
The marsh frogs and the owls formed a wild music,
A chorus that his blood throbbed and repeated:
“She will be coming soon—she will be coming.”
Why was he waiting? When the month was over,        15
He would be in the city, and meet people
Finer than these—girls twenty times as lovely.
There he would find the adventures he was seeking.
He would have money, and would hear no longer
The drunken lumber-jacks and backwoods farmers        20
Stupid with beer, and shouting.
                        If he married,
And farmed, as had his father and his brothers,
Lifelong he would be following the round
Of plowing soggy ground to sow with corn,
Of cultivating, harvesting and husking.        25
He could not marry her. But still that chorus
Of silly words rang in his ears, insistent:
“She will be coming soon, she will be coming.”
Out of the shadow she slipped into moonlight,
And stood beside him staring with round eyes        30
                “Why Harry, you’re not angry?
What makes you …. you’re so quiet—”
He bent and kissed her.
                Their two shadows lengthened
Across the hayfield, where the dew had turned
The stubble into silver. And the frogs,        35
And lonely owls that screeched across the woodlot,
The drunken laughter, and the lonely fiddle,
Out of discordance, turned to symphony,
Turned to an intoxicated chorus:
“She came to meet me here, she came to meet me.”        40

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