Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
White Males
By Robert McAlmon
From “The Via Dolorosa of Art”

WHITE stallions dashed by.
I could see their teeth gleaming
Through their lips as they sneered
With death-laughter upon them.
Light poured in silver        5
Off their arched necks.
But there was blood upon their flanks,
Scarlet trickling upon the white sinews.
The stallions were prancing to death,
Trumpeting defiance with their nostrils.        10
White Chillingham bulls followed them.
I saw them gore the stallions,
But a wince of pain was across their eyes too.
Sharp horse-hoofs had struck them on the heart.
They fought with missing heart-beats        15
To plow on, tearing the soil with polished hoofs.
If they could only reach the forest,
If only to die there!
I could not help them.
I remembered dreams I had had        20
In which white mastodons trampled the plains,
Seeking to reach the forest before death.
And white Irish stags, ten men high,
With antlers that were giant trees with white bark,
Had stumbled under the weight of their own bulk.        25
A wince was across all their eyes—
But a smile, a never-mind tenderness.
Perhaps they were sure of coming into the purity
Because of their whiteness.
I knew why they were white:        30
They were my dreams—all frozen,
And all white with the frost upon them,
And white with the frost all through them.
They were frozen thwarted male things
Rushing somewhere—        35
Seeking, fighting, and killing;
But white—say that of them.
The steam off their quivering flanks,
Sweated and weak with exhaustion, was white.
They would never find mates        40
Before they died.
There would be no more white males,
None so clear a white as these;
Only some tinged with gray—dusty.
But I could not watch them rush to the forest forever—        45
Not one did I see arrive there—
A cloud or night or blackness always intervened.
I saw them rush forward and disappear,
And then saw no more of them.

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