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 Agnes Lee
OVER the house the evening settled down.
The little phaeton stood before the door.
Out came her husband, strong and weather-brown:
“Why, Judith, what on earth are you waiting for?”—
He stroked the pony—“And the boy—where’s he?        5
I thought you’d gone.”
                    “We were just starting, when
Will heard a droning, and he said to me:
‘It’s from the mine—I know the sound. The men
Forgot to shut things off—I’ll go and see.        10
Mother, you take the reins and wait a bit—
I won’t be long.’ And now it’s fully three
Long quarters of an hour, and here I sit.”
“Will knows what he’s about,” said Alan. “Well,
There’s time enough, Jude. Why it isn’t eight!        15
You might stay out a little longer spell,
Taking the road around by Fostergate.
I’m glad he’s learning how to run the mine—
Here we’ve a coal-mine right on our own place,
And it’ll go to him. How keen and fine        20
He is!—it can’t help showing in his face.
I thought he might come home half-heartedly,
Feeling himself too tall for us, somehow
Grown different in his ways, and wishing we
Could be more …”        25
            “Alan, don’t talk nonsense, now!—
You might have known he’d always be the same.
They couldn’t make him love us any less,
Not all the colleges your tongue could name.”
“You’re right enough, you’re right enough, I guess.”        30
“He’d rather take his mother for a drive
Than be the governor of Illinois!
Now there’s the moon, as sure as I’m alive!
Alan, step back and see what keeps the boy.”
And Alan, young at fifty, straight and proud,        35
Strode from the narrow box-path’s mossy tiling
Over the lawn where the cool branches bowed.
And he was humming to himself, and smiling;
For all the scent and sound of evening blended
In one voice, singing, “Our son!” The high grain-stack,        40
Crowned by the moon, where the long pasture ended,
Sang out, “Our son!” And his heart sang it back.
He entered through a doorway in the ground.
Down in the mine he groped his way about,
Calling, “Ho—Will!” There came no answering sound.        45
And still went echoing Alan’s shout on shout.
Now like a menacing troop of giant foes
Dark in the mine loomed shadowy shapes of steel.
Dark in his brain a dream of dread arose.
A darker something whirled upon a wheel.
.      .      .      .      .      .      .      .
Agèd at fifty, he came out. No more
Was any singing, for to him the air
Was hushed forever, and earth’s lovely floor
Sent up in vain its fragrance everywhere.
Feeble and faint, at last he reached the lawn—        55
One thought, to be with her. He stumbled, fell,
And up again he staggered. On; oh, on!
He must make haste with what he had to tell.
.      .      .      .      .      .      .      .
She waited, waited, looking straight ahead,
Deep in a plan of trimming for a blouse.        60
He stood there—and she knew, before he said
The words: “Get down, dear—come! come in the house.”

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