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Babette Deutsch


Midsummer Poem

Autumn 1955 | Poetry

Hard as a man’s in a vineyardThe feet of the sun are tramplingThe meadows, pressing the fields. SilenceDances. Fragrance blazes. NoonwardA fresh sweetness                          & [...]

The Belvedere: Mozart’s Music

Here on this hill, beyond the sick world's pain, Landscape is legend, from the shadowy plain To topknots blonde with sun and lakes that shine Softly as bloom of porcelain or of wine. The contours of this classic structure keep The distance of a dre [...]

To My Son

NOW the blackout of frontiers Between home and gehenna Kills the light in the eyes That would speak to you, throttles The word in the throat, estranges Us from ourselves. Our soiled pledges Have become a bundle of lies for the ragpicker's sorting Whe [...]

Bad Times

Each season knows its own despair: the child Wading in woe, suddenly overwhelmed By one wave with all ocean at its back, The child under the mounting comber of His own ignorance and lack. Though he loves everything the shore can show, The empty sh [...]

Certain Good

The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats. New York: The Macmillan Company. $3.50. Poems, 1924-1933. By Archibald MacLeish. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. $3.00. Now with His Love. By John Peale Bishop. New York: Charles Scribncr's Sons. $2.50. [...]

The Chase

There is a way to break time's ankles. Mended, He rises and runs on. Like nothing of nature's making, he is gone, And by the dazzle of his flight defended. That savage prey not to be trapped or taken Flies where the eye in vain Pursues, but the [...]

Poetry Out of Chaos

No Retreat. By Horace Gregory. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company. $2.00. The Collected Poems of 11 art Crane, Edited, with an introduction, by Waldo Frank. New York: Horace Livcright. $3.00. last Poems. By D, H. Lawrence. Edited by Richard Aldi [...]

Proud Lady

Collected Poems of Elinor Wylie. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. $3.50. Every book is in some sort a mask of its author, and the volume of Elinor Wylie's collected poems presents a living one. She delighted to paint lyric portraits of the artist— [...]

Tolstoy Unrevealed

Tolstoy, the Inconstant Genius: A Biography. By Alexander I. Nazaroff. New York: Frederick A. Stokes. $5.00. It is almost impossible to write a dull book about Tolstoy. The quantity of the source material is almost equalled by the fascination o [...]


PRISONER The leopard in his cage Feels no more restless rage Than I here in this room Hearing, like doom, The iron bustle of incessant trains, The bells, the laughter Of children playing, and the silence after. . . . There is the food of madness in [...]

The Heathen … Bows

I will get on my knees to wood and stone; to their cold shapes, their durable dead stuffs; to fallen herms, lying like unfleshed bone, to leaning monoliths, the east wind roughs; stone, in whose barren curves is bosomed peace for fires to crouch [...]

The Gift

Now, when air's ashen cheek Is damp as sorrow's own, And spring herself would groan If she had breath to speak; When heaven is one cloud Wrapping from head to feet Cold roof and blank-eyed street, As in a faceless shroud; Now when the mad are [...]

To Certain Companions

In the room that is closed to the assailing night, and warmed by colours tangled on ledge and wall, gather, friends and lovers, and cherish as bright honey-dripping fruit these hours, before they fall, fall, rot, wither, to end in dust, that is g [...]

Poets and New Poets

Poems and New Poems. By Louise Bogan. Charles Scribner's Sons. $2.50. What Are Years. By Marianne Moore. The Macmillan Company. $1.50. Be Angry at the Sun. By Robinson Jeffers. Random House. $2.50. Shenandoah. By Delmore Schwartz. New Directions. $ [...]

After False Spring

On this day when the sodden earth remembers The waters whence she sprang, and the low sky aches With the wound the sun makes, burning invisibly, On this day my heart is hot as a wound in me, And my mind holds only a heap of clinkers and embers. [...]

Elegy for an Evening

It was a night with Winter in the air after the first of Spring: it was a night cloudy and starred: you seemed to bring the weather with you into the book-walled room. Let me remember this against the time when jealousy and parent joy have fol [...]

Dawn in Wartime

Sunrise tumbling in like a surf, of flowers. The foam rose-petals, curling thousands, lightly crumbling Away into light. Waking to this, how could the eyes hold The shape of night's barren island, the cold cliffs Climbed in sleep? Or mind remembe [...]

The English Singers

They sang: and the wide hall was charged with slow Immoderate gold, as though their voices were fingers On the sluice that is west of Eden. Halt that flow, Yet riding the air like a feather, the radiance lingers. They sang again: a white-flanked [...]

“There Is a Season”

There is a season when sleep, like an old fox, Slips to a hole that the most passionate hunter Cannot smell out. Who knows that period, Knows sweat that pours like rain, knows grief that locks The joints, and, like one caught in a dark wood, Fe [...]


Strange heart, that knows not whether it loves or no, Or, loving, loves a stranger or a friend! Here is a puzzle without beginning or end, Subtle as Chinese ivories. Oh, slow And baffled heart, how many hours, weeks, years, Will you be returnin [...]

On the Unemployed

Being a Timely Rejoinder to Gerard Manley Hopkins' Sonnet on the Same Theme Tom's cold, cold. Shrugs closer to dour Dick And Harry, sick Of his empty guts, slack hands that no work fills. The street's no harsher than these faces, chills No les [...]