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Poem by Elinor Wylie


Why should this Negro insolently stride 
Down the red noonday on such noiseless feet? 
Piled in his barrow, tawnier than wheat, 
Lie heaps of smouldering daisies, sombre-eyed, 
Their copper petals shriveled up with pride, 
Hot with a superfluity of heat, 
Like a great brazier borne along the street 
By captive leopards, black and burning pied.

Are there no water-lilies, smooth as cream, 
With long stems dripping crystal? Are there none 
Like those white lilies, luminous and cool, 
Plucked from some hemlock-darkened northern stream 
By fair-haired swimmers, diving where the sun 
Scarce warms the surface of the deepest pool?

Elinor Wylie

Elinor Wylie's other poems:
  1. MadmanТs Song
  2. Primavera in the North
  3. Curious Circumstance
  4. The Lost Path
  5. Venetian Interior

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Algernon Swinburne August ("THERE WERE four apples on the bough")
  • Madison Cawein August ("Clad on with glowing beauty and the peace")
  • John Payne August ("AUGUST, thou monarch of the mellow noon")

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