Pain

Harriet Monroe 1860 (Chicago) – 1936 (Arequipa)

She heard the children playing in the sun,
And through her window saw the white-stemmed trees
Sway like a film of silver in the breeze
Under the purple hills; and one by one
She noted chairs and cabinets, and spun
The pattern of her bed's pale draperies:
Yet all the while she knew that each of these
Was a dull lie, in irony begun.
For down in hell she lay, whose livid fires
Love may not quench, whose pangs death may not quell.
The round immensity of earth and sky
Shrank to a point that speared her. Loves' desires,
Darkened to torturing ministers of hell,
Whose mockery of joy deepened the lie.
Little eternities the black hours were,
That no beginning knew, that knew no end.
Day waned, and night came like a faithless friend,
Bringing no joy; till slowly over her
A numbness grew, and life became a blur,
A silence, an oblivion, a dark blend
Of dim lost agonies, whose downward trend
Led into time's eternal sepulchre.
And yet, when, after aeons infinite
Of dark eclipse she woke—lo, it was day!
The pictures hung upon the walls, each one;
Under the same rose-patterned coverlet
She lay; spring was still young, and still the play
Of happy children sounded in the sun.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Harriet Monroe

Harriet Monroe was an American editor, scholar, literary critic, poet and patron of the arts. more…

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