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Genevieve Taggard

Genevieve Taggard was born in Waitsburg, Washington, in 1894. She is best known as a biographer of Emily Dickinson, authoring The Life and Mind of Emily Dickinson (Alfred A. Knopf, 1930). She also wrote several poetry collections, including For Eager Lovers (Thomas Seltzer, 1922) and Not Mine to Finish: Poems 1928–1934 (Harper & Brothers, 1934). She died in New York City in 1948.

By This Poet

3

With Child

Now I am slow and placid, fond of sun,
Like a sleek beast, or a worn one:
No slim and languid girl – not glad
With the windy trip I once had,
But velvet-footed, musing of my own,
Torpid, mellow, stupid as a stone.

You cleft me with your beauty's pulse, and now
Your pulse has taken body. Care not how
The old grace goes, how heavy I am grown,
Big with this loneliness, how you alone
Ponder our love. Touch my feet and feel
How earth tingles, teeming at my heel!
Earth's urge, not mine, – my little death, not hers;
And the pure beauty yearns and stirs.

It does not heed our ecstacies, it turns
With secrets of its own, its own concerns,
Toward a windy world of its own, toward stark
And solitary places. In the dark
Defiant even now; it tugs and moans
To be untangled from these mother's bones. 

The Vast Hour

All essences of sweetness from the white 
Warm day go up in vapor, when the dark 
Comes down. Ascends the tune of meadow-lark, 
Ascends the noon-time smell of grass, when night 
Takes sunlight from the world, and gives it ease. 
Mysterious wings have brushed the air; and light 
Float all the ghosts of sense and sound and sight; 
The silent hive is echoing the bees.
So stir my thoughts at this slow, solemn time. 
Now only is there certainty for me
When all the day's distilled and understood. 
Now light meets darkness: now my tendrils climb 
In this vast hour, up the living tree,
Where gloom foregathers, and the stern winds brood.

With Child

Now I am slow and placid, fond of sun,
Like a sleek beast, or a worn one:
No slim and languid girl—not glad
With the windy trip I once had,
But velvet-footed, musing of my own,
Torpid, mellow, stupid as a stone.

You cleft me with your beauty’s pulse, and now
Your pulse has taken body. Care not how
The old grace goes, how heavy I am grown,
Big with this loneliness, how you alone
Ponder our love. Touch my feet and feel
How earth tingles, teeming at my heel!
Earth’s urge, not mine,—my little death, not hers;
And the pure beauty yearns and stirs.

It does not heed our ecstacies, it turns
With secrets of its own, its own concerns,
Toward a windy world of its own, toward stark
And solitary places. In the dark,
Defiant even now, it tugs and moans
To be untangled from these mother’s bones.