Out of Peony and Blade
by Antoinette Scudder
Henry Harrison, New York (1931)
It’s a lovely little volume, a tall, slender, hardcover in black with tan lettering. Sixty-two pages, in laid stock which, to my eye, is a pinkish-orange color. Online references are brief and not too informative; I gather the poet was from New Jersey. The book is in nice condition. I paid a dollar-fifty for it. Here’s the first poem:
Bring me water in a shallow bowl,
Rock crystal or chalcedony
Like the milky curve of the Moon of Frost;
Bring water from a lonely spring
Where the pliant turf is never marked
By any rougher tread
Than the slender hooves of the hornless deer.
Then watch while I unfold
The frail silk paper, while I drop
One by one in the water
These brown and shrunken things—
Queer little mummies of thought.
See them unfold to flower shapes.
They have odd stories to tell
Of things that are old and strange and sad
But still they hold a haunting charm
That may fill a drowsy house
Like the smoky fragrance of leaves
That burn in the autumn dusk.
In the Forum: letters, advertisements, playbills.