poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this poet

Elinor Wylie was born in Somerville, New Jersey, on September 7, 1885. Her collections of poetry include Black Armour (George H. Doran Company, 1923) and Angels and Earthly Creatures (Alfred A. Knopf, 1929). She died on December 16, 1928. 

Atavism

I always was afraid of Somes's Pond:
Not the little pond, by which the willow stands,
Where laughing boys catch alewives in their hands
In brown, bright shallows; but the one beyond.
There, when the frost makes all the birches burn
Yellow as cow-lilies, and the pale sky shines
Like a polished shell between black spruce and pines,
Some strange thing tracks us, turning where we turn.

You'll say I dream it, being the true daughter
Of those who in old times endured this dread.
Look! Where the lily-stems are showing red
A silent paddle moves below the water,
A sliding shape has stirred them like a breath;
Tall plumes surmount a painted mask of death.

This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 27, 2013. 

This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 27, 2013. 

Elinor Wylie

Elinor Wylie

Elinor Wylie was born in Somerville, New Jersey, on September 7, 1885. 

by this poet

poem

Say not of Beauty she is good,
Or aught but beautiful,
Or sleek to doves’ wings of the wood
Her wild wings of a gull.

Call her not wicked; that word’s touch
Consumes her like a curse;
But love her not too much, too much,
For that is even worse.

O, she is neither good nor

poem

Sleep falls, with limpid drops of rain,
Upon the steep cliffs of the town.
Sleep falls; men are at peace again
While the small drops fall softly down.

The bright drops ring like bells of glass
Thinned by the wind; and lightly blown;
Sleep cannot fall on peaceful grass
So softly

poem
When foxes eat the last gold grape,
And the last white antelope is killed,
I shall stop fighting and escape
Into a little house I'll build.

But first I'll shrink to fairy size,
With a whisper no one understands,
Making blind moons of all your eyes,
And muddy roads of all your hands.

And you may grope for me in