Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
Song of Men
By Edgar Lee Masters
 
From “Canticle of the Race”

HOW beautiful are the bodies of men—
The agonists!
Their hearts beat deep as a brazen gong
For their strength’s behests.
Their arms are lithe as a seasoned thong        5
In games or tests—
When they run or box or swim the long
Sea-wave crests
With their slender legs, and their hips so strong,
And their rounded chests.        10
 
I know a youth who raises his arms
Over his head.
He laughs and stretches and flouts alarms
Of flood or fire.
He springs renewed from a lusty bed        15
To his youth’s desire.
He drowses, for April flames outspread
In his soul’s attire.
 
The strength of men is for husbandry
Of woman’s flesh:        20
Worker, soldier, magistrate
Of city or realm;
Artist, builder, wrestling Fate
Lest it overwhelm
The brood or the race, or the cherished state.        25
They sing at the helm
When the waters roar and the waves are great,
And the gale is fresh.
 
There are two miracles, women and men—
Yea, four there be:        30
A woman’s flesh, and the strength of a man,
And God’s decree,
And a babe from the womb in a little span
Ere the month be ten.
Their rapturous arms entwine and cling        35
In the depths of night;
He hunts for her face for his wondering,
And her eyes are bright.
A woman’s flesh is soil, but the spring
Is man’s delight.        40
 
 
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