Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ANATHEMA, by GEORGE S. BRYAN

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ANATHEMA, by            
First Line: After a week of rain (miss martha said)
Last Line: "you little slut, now you shan't be baptized!"
Subject(s): Baptism; Christenings

After a week of rain (Miss Martha said),
The Lord's Day sun at last broke steaming through;
Mounds of white cloud were ranged close overhead,
Like marble pylons set to guard the blue;
Old elms confided, in theiro stately way,
"Martha, you know, will be baptized today."

Martha had somehow reached the age of five
Undedicate (she has not told me why);
And though she seemed, indeed, to grow and thrive,
What might not happen should she chance to die?
Therefore she moved, that day, with happy feet
And eyes that saw not, down the village street.

So rapt she was, she did not mark at all
The muddy pool that lay across her path. . . .
A sudden stumble and a swift, headlong fall --
The voice of woe, and then the voice of wrath. . . .
O Lord's Day sun that was eclipsed so soon,
O shining morn that knew such dismal noon!

Her starched white frock was grievous to behold;
Face, hands, and shoes a common mishap shared.
Out rushed the words in which her doom was told,
Her dole proclaimed, her punishment declared,
And all the fair cargo of her dreams capsized:
"You little slut, now you shan't be baptized!"

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