Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
Portrait of a House
By Mary Carolyn Davies
FAR from a town
I know a house that’s a girl’s dream come true.
And there is one room done in blue,
In queer still blues, with shades drawn down.
In a room near        5
Are candles, thick as a man’s arm,
Of yellow wax, and then a warm
Great golden bowl of burning bloom;
And past, there is a little room
For tea, and being glad and proud        10
One is alive. There is a crowd
Of tall flowers shaken as with fear
Outside a door. And walking by
Three great windows filled with sky,
We came to a Chinese room        15
Where a Buddha sits in gloom.
He is as still as witchery
But in his eyes weird things I see,
Like the waiting to be wild
In the eyes of a young child.        20
Past this room are wonders still—
Altar vestures from Brazil,
Blue and silver ones and red;
She loves old rich things. She said,
“Cream or lemon in your tea?”        25
In a strange laughing voice. She has
Dusk eyes, I think, or maybe blue,
And a heart for telling secrets to.
A bear-skin out of Russia yawns
On her wide hall. There have been dawns        30
A-many on her waiting lawns.
The rocky cliffside, glacier-scarred,
And mountain trails are in her yard.
The widest river of the west
Goes past her door. There is a jest        35
In all she does, and a greatness too.
And little gardens hidden where
Her guests find them unaware.
Gravely in the court beyond
Her gardeners have made a pond        40
Where waterlilies were, and where
They are gone now, except two rare
And perfect ones, like trembling young
Shy things; and deep and red among
The lily roots the goldfish go        45
In a discontented row,
Breaking and wheeling. A white wall
Bears bowls of trailing vines. There fall
Out of the air great seagulls. High
Cliffs and rough crags break up the sky,        50
Across the river; and beyond
The level lawn, the level pond,
The mountain rises menacing;
And a great waterfall comes down
Like a sullen tiger’s spring.        55
I have watched her calm eyes cling
To the waterfall—while slow
And sweet she spoke, in her still way,
Of books and men that we two know.
Prisoner in her house she dwells,        60
As do we all. Our rooms are cells.
Loveliness is only bars
To shut out faces from the stars.

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