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About this Poem 

“After” was published in A Canopic Jar (E. P. Dutton & Company, 1921).

After

I will not walk in the wood to-night,
I will not stand by the water’s edge
And see day lie on the dusk’s bright ledge
Until it turn, a star at its breast,
To rest.

I will not see the wide-flung hills
Closing darkly about my grief,
I wore a crown of their lightest leaf,
But now they press like a cold, blue ring,
Imprisoning.

I dare not meet that caroling blade,
Jauntily drawn in the sunset pine,
Stabbing me with its thrust divine,
Knowing my naked, aching need,
Till I bleed.

Sheathe your song, invincible bird,
Strike not at me with that flashing note,
Have pity, have pity, persistent throat,
Deliver me not to your dread delight
To-night!

I am afraid of the creeping wood,
I am afraid of the furtive trees,
Hiding behind them, memories,
Ready to spring, to clutch, to tear,
Wait for me there.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 10, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 10, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Leonora Speyer

Leonora Speyer

Leonora Speyer was born in Washington, D.C., in 1872. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1927 for her poetry collection Fiddler’s Farewell (Alfred A. Knopf, 1926). Her other poetry collections include A Canopic Jar (E. P. Dutton, 1921). Speyer died on February 10,  1956, in New York City.

by this poet

poem

The squall sweeps gray-winged across the obliterated hills,
And the startled lake seems to run before it;
From the wood comes a clamor of leaves,
Tugging at the twigs,
Pouring from the branches,
And suddenly the birds are still.

Thunder crumples the sky,
Lightning tears at it.

poem

I had a sudden vision in the night—
I did not sleep, I dare not say I dreamed—
Beside my bed a pallid ladder gleamed
And lifted upward to the sky's dim height: 
And every rung shone strangely in that light,
And every rung a woman's body seemed,
Outstretched, and down the sides her long

poem
Fearless riders of the gale,
In your bleak eyes is the memory
Of sinking ships:
Desire, unsatisfied,
Droops from your wings.

You lie at dusk
In the sea’s ebbing cradles,
Unresponsive to its mood;
Or hover and swoop,
Snatching your food and rising again,
Greedy,
Unthinking.

You veer and steer your callous course