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Percy Mackaye

 

Percy Mackaye (1875-1956), American poet.

 

A poem inspired by the the girls of the Duncan school when they had to move to New York fleeing the war, written in New York in 1914.

 

 

The Child-Dancers

 

A bomb has fallen over Notre Dame:

 

Germans have burned another Belgian town:

 

Russians quelled in the east: England in qualm:

 

I closed my eyes, and laid the paper down.

 

Gray ledge and moor-grass and pale bloom of light

 

By pale blue seas!

 

What laughter of a child world-sprite,

 

Sweet as the horns of lone October bees,

 

Shrills the faint shore with mellow, old delight?

 

What elves are these

 

In smocks gray-blue as sea and ledge,

 

Dancing upon the silvered edge

 

Of darkness - each ecstatic one

 

Making a happy orison,

 

With shining limbs, to the low-sunken sun?

 

See: now they cease

 

Like nesting birds from flight:

 

Demure and debonair

 

They troop beside their hostess' chair

 

To make their bedtime courtesies:

 

"Spokoinoi notchi! - Gute Nacht!

 

Bon soir! Bon soir! - Good night"

 

What far-gleamed lives are these

 

Linked in one holy family of art? --

 

Dreams, dreams once Christ and Plato dreamed:

 

How fair their happy shades depart!

 

Dear God! how simple it a

 

Till once again

 

Before my eyes the red type quivered: Slain:

 

Ten Thousand of the enemy. -

 

The laughter! laughter from the ancient sea

 

Sang in the gloaming: "Athens! Galilee!"

 

And elfin voices called from the extinguished light: -

 

"Spokoinoi notchi! Gute Nacht!

 

Bon soir! Bon soir! - Good night!"

 

 

 

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Monday the 25th. . Isadora Duncan Pundect
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