Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, OPENING SCENE FOR MACBETH - 1934, by PHILIP JEROME CLEVELAND



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OPENING SCENE FOR MACBETH - 1934, by            
First Line: The three spare witches meet again
Last Line: "has wars and money, too!"
Subject(s): Fights; Soldiers; War


The three spare witches meet again
At dusk to talk of fears
That have tumbled in since nineteen-twelve
From a derailed car of years.
What will they mull, these sneaking crones,
Round their cauldron and their oil
When the night-wind whines against the moon
And their brew has come to boil?

What will they mutter to the dark
And What will make them screech
Delight into each wizened face
Until old fingers reach
To fuss with long and thorny hair
And what will make them drown
The night-wind in their laughter scarce
A dozen curves from town?

Their chatter shall go on, I wean,
In a measure bold and black
Till the night-things shake and fall away
From each bent and grisley back;
Swift down the road their glee shall rush
Like the sounds that haunt the dead
Till the townsfolk stare and hold their breath
And crumple up in bed.

The plaids and skirts down in the town
Will hear witch-laughter pass
Around their doors and wrinkle through
Old hedgerows and the grass;
And men shall know when old crones mull
Stark wrongs and messy fears,
The nations' beds that shall be sights
For a kegfull yet of years.

"The lazy world—the crazy world—"
The crones shall have their say,
"Has drunk its Sunday night of fun
And spilled its wilful play;
We heeded men and gave in once,
We drove our thunders in,
They cheered our scarlet pantomime
And rolled our loads of sin.

"We gave the town its holiday
With flags and flaring band,
We shoved our shouts among the shouts
And praised each soldier land;
Men had their dimes and staged their war
And scrawled the skies in blood;
They whirled red-madness from the guns
And had their fill of mud.

"We gave to them and watched the fun,
Good Sisters, did we not?
We let them blow their dollars high
In smoke and cannon-shot;
So kind we were. Men asked a thrill.
We dropped one on their way;
They had their fair and holiday—
Say my Good Sisters? Say!

"And fool men living on the town
That now should be in bed
And dreaming this long dark away
With a dollar saved for bread
Must sit all night to break their backs
And whine why all's askew
With banks and books; to think a world
Has wars and money, too!"





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