Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
The King
By Skipwith Cannéll
From “Monoliths”

SEVEN full-paunched eunuchs came to me,
Bearing before them upon a silver shield
The secrets of my enemy.
As they crossed my threshold to stand,
With stately and hypocritical gesture        5
In a row before me,
One stumbled.
The dull, incurious eyes of the others
Blazed into no laughter,
Only a haggard malice        10
At the discomfiture
Of their companion.
Why should such T h i n g s have power
Not spoken for in the rules of men?
.      .      .      .
I would not receive them.        15
With my head covered I motioned them
To go forth from my presence.
Where shall I find an enemy
Worthy of me as him they defaced?
.      .      .      .
As they left me,        20
Bearing with them
Lewd shield and scarlet crown,
One paused upon the threshold,
To sniff a flower.        25
Even him I permitted to go forth
.      .      .      .
I have renounced my kingdom;
In a little bronze boat I have set sail        30
Upon the sea.
There is no land, and the sea
Is black like the pool of ink
In the palm of a soothsayer,        35
Is black like the cypresses waiting
At midnight in the place of tombs.
.      .      .      .
My boat
Fears the white-lipped waves
That snatch at her,        40
As they steal past like cats
Into the night:
And beneath me, in their hidden places,        45
The great fishes talk of me
In a tongue I have forgotten.

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