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THE WANDERER; A ROCOCO STUDY: BROADWAY, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: It was then she struck -- from behind
Last Line: And led me away.
Subject(s): Wandering & Wanderers

It was then she struck -- from behind,
In mid air, as with the edge of a great wing!
And instantly down the mists of my eyes
There came crowds walking -- men as visions
With expressionless, animate faces;
Empty men with shell-thin bodies
Jostling close above the gutter,
Hasting -- nowhere! And then for the first time
I really saw her, really scented the sweat
Of her presence and -- fell back sickened!
Ominous, old, painted --
With bright lips, and lewd Jew's eyes
Her might strapped in by a corset
To give her age youth, perfect
In her will to be young she had covered
The godhead to go beside me.
Silent, her voice entered at my eyes
And my astonished thought followed her easily:
"Well, do their eyes shine, do their clothes fit?
These live I tell you! Old men with red cheeks,
Young men in gay suits! See them!
Dogged, quivering, impassive --
Well -- are these the ones you envied?"
At which I answered her, "Marvelous old queen,
Grant me power to catch something of this day's
Air and sun into your service!
That these toilers after peace and after pleasure
May turn to you, worshippers at all hours!"
But she sniffed upon the words warily --
Yet I persisted, watching for an answer:
"To you, horrible old woman,
Who know all fires out of the bodies
Of all men that walk with lust at heart!
To you, O mighty, crafty prowler
After the youth of all cities, drunk
With the sight of thy archness! All the youth
That come to you, you having the knowledge
Rather than to those uninitiate --
To you, marvelous old queen, give me always
A new marriage --"
But she laughed loudly --
"A new grip upon those garments that brushed me
In days gone by on beach, lawn, and in forest!
May I be lifted still, up and out of terror,
Up from before the death living around me --
Torn up continually and carried
Whatever way the head of your whim is,
A burr upon those streaming tatters --"
But the night had fallen, she stilled me
And led me away.

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