Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
Full of Laughter
By Louis Golding
VERY full of laughter is the old man.
The air is full of wings
Of the little birds of laughter,
Which the old man flings
From his mouth up to the rafter        5
In the white-washed ceiling
That vibrates with his laughter
And quivers and sings;
Till the little birds come stealing
To the lips whence they came,        10
And you only hear the laughter
In the shaking of the flame,
In the tapping of the leaves,
And you only hear the laughter
Very faintly if at all;        15
Until, as you drowse, suddenly, once more,
He awakes with a roar,
And the laughter goes flapping from the ceiling to the wall.
Very full of laughter is the old man.
Very full of laughter is the old man?…        20
I know not what I say,
I mistrust what I hear.
There’s an evil tongue licking where the log-fires play,
The round cat heaves with a laughter and a fear.
There are wells lying deeper        25
Than the laughter in his eyes,
There are glooms lying deeper
Than the lost lands of the sleeper,
There are sounds behind the laughter
Which I dare not follow after,        30
There’s a choked heart tolling and a dumb child cries.
There’s an old mouth full of laughter,
But a dumb heart cries.

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