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.
 
Feminine Talk
By Maxwell Bodenheim
 
From “Sappho Answers Aristotle”

First Woman.  DO you share the present dread
      Of being sentimental?
      The world has flung its boutonnière
      Into the mud, and steps upon it
      With elaborate gestures!        5
      Certain people do this neatly,
      Using solemn words for consolation:
      Others angrily stamp their feet,
      Striving to prove their strength.
Second Woman.  Sentimentality        10
      Is the servant-girl of certain men
      And the wife of others.
      She scarcely ever flirts
      With creative minds,
      Striving also to become        15
      Graceful and indiscreet.
First Woman.  Sappho and Aristotle
      Have wandered through the centuries,
      Dressed in an occasional novelty—
      A little twist of outward form.        20
      They have always been ashamed
      To be caught in a friendly talk.
Second Woman.  When emotion and the mind
      Engage in deliberate conversation,
      One hundred nightingales        25
      And intellectuals find a common ground,
      And curse the meeting of their slaves!
First Woman.  The mind must only play
      With polished relics of emotion,
      And the heart must never lighten        30
      Burdens of the mind.
Second Woman.  I desire to be
      Irrelevant and voluble,
      Leaving my terse disgust for a moment.
      I have met an erudite poet.        35
      With a northern hardness
      Motionless beneath his youthful robes.
      He shuns the quivering fluencies
      Of emotion, and shifts his dominoes
      Within a room of tortured angles.        40
      But away from this creative room
      He sells himself to the whims
      Of his wife, a young virago
      With a calculating nose.
      Beneath the flagrant pose        45
      Of his double life
      Emotion and the mind
      Look disconsolately at each other.
First Woman.  Lyrical abandon
      And mental cautiousness        50
      Must not mingle to a magic
      Glowing, yet deliberate!
Second Woman.  Never spill your wine
      Upon a page of mathematics.
      Drink it decently        55
      Within the usual tavern.
 
 
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