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Colors of Life Poems and Songs and Sonnets   By:

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COLORS OF LIFE

NEW POETRY: FALL 1918

By Robert Graves FAIRIES AND FUSILIERS

By Gilbert Frankau THE OTHER SIDE

By Max Eastman COLORS OF LIFE

By Kahlil Gibran THE MADMAN

COLORS OF LIFE

POEMS AND SONGS AND SONNETS

BY MAX EASTMAN

NEW YORK ALFRED A. KNOPF MCMXVIII

COPYRIGHT, 1918, BY ALFRED A. KNOPF, INC.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PREFACE

ABOUT AMERICAN POETRY

It is impossible for me, feeling and watching the eternal tidal currents of liberty and individual life against tyranny and the type, which are clashing and rearing up their highest crimsoned waves at this hour, to publish without some word of deprecation a book of poems so personal for the most part, and reflecting my own too easy taste of freedom rather than my share in the world's struggle towards an age and universe of it. That struggle has always occupied my thoughts, and often my energies, and yet I have never identified myself with it or found my undivided being there. I have found that rather in individual experience and in those moments of energetic idleness when the life of universal nature seemed to come to its bloom of realization in my consciousness. Life is older than liberty. It is greater than revolution. It burns in both camps. And life is what I love. And though I love life for all men and women, and so inevitably stand in the ranks of revolution against the cruel system of these times, I loved it first for myself. Its essence the essence of life is variety and specific depth, and it can not be found in monotonous consecration to a general principle. Therefore I have feared and avoided this consecration, which earnest friends for some reason always expect me to exemplify, and my poetry has never entered, even so deeply as it might, into those tempests of social change that are coloring our thoughts today.

Poetry that has life for its subject, and untempered reality, is rather expected to manifest that irregular flow and exuberance of material over structure with which Walt Whitman challenged the world. In America at least the freedom and poignant candor of strong art is associated with the tradition that he founded, and little is granted to that other tradition which finds its original in Edgar Allan Poe. There existed in Europe, however, a succession of poets whose eyes turned back in admiration to Poe, and they were the poets of reality and those who touched the mood of social revolt. And for my part I think there is a modern validity in the attitudes of both these poets, and a certain adjudication between them which a perfectly impersonal science might propose.

Every one who reads this book will be familiar, I suppose, with Walt Whitman's ideal of an American poetry so free and strong and untrammelled of ornamentation that it should go out of the books it was published in and stand up with the hills and forests on the earth. "The Poetry of the future," he said.

CONTENTS

AMERICAN IDEALS OF POETRY A PREFACE 13

POEMS

COMING TO PORT 43

THE LONELY BATHER 45

IN MY ROOM 46

HOURS 47

FIRE AND WATER 48

YOU MAKE NO ANSWER 49

OUT OF A DARK NIGHT 50

A MORNING 51

ANNIVERSARY 52

AUTUMN LIGHT 53

A MODERN MESSIAH 54

IN A RED CROSS HOSPITAL 55

A VISIT 56

TO LOVE 58

CAR WINDOW 59

LITTLE FISHES 60

INVOCATION 61

SOMETIMES 62

TO MARIE SUKLOFF AN ASSASSIN 63

TO AN ACTRESS 65

EYES 66

X RAYS 67

SONNETS

A PREFACE ABOUT SONNETS 71

A PRAISEFUL COMPLAINT 74

THOSE YOU DINED WITH 75

THE PASSIONS OF A CHILD 76

AS THE CRAG EAGLE 77

TO MY FATHER 78

TO EDWARD S... Continue reading book >>




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