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Proper Clay

ISSUE:  Autumn 1936

Their little room grew light with cries;
He woke and heard them thread the dark,
He woke and felt them like the rays
Of some unlawful dawn at work—
Some random sunrise, lost and small,
That found the room’s heart, vein by vein.
But she was whispering to the wall,
And he must see what she had seen.
He asked her gently, and she wept. “Oh,
I have dreamed the ancient dream.
My time was on me, and I slept;
And I grew greater than I am;
“And lay like dead; but when I lived,
Three winged midwives wrapped the child.
It was a god that I had loved,
It was a hero I had held.
“Stretch out your mortal hands,
I beg. Say common sentences to me.
Lie cold and still, that I may brag
How close I am to proper clay.
“Let this within me hear the truth.
Speak loud to it”—he stopped her lips.
He smoothed the covers over both.
It was a dream perhaps, perhaps.
Yet why this radiance round the room,
And why this trembling at her waist?
And then he smiled. It was the same
Undoubted flesh that he had kissed—
She lay unchanged from what she was,
She cried as ever woman cried.
Yet why this light along his brows?
And whence the music no one made?


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