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Atavism

Elinor Morton Wylie 1885 (Somerville, New Jersey) – 1928 (New York City, New York)

I was always afraid of Somes's Pond:
Not the little pond, by which the willow stands,
Where laughing boys catch alewives in their hands
In brown, bright shallows; but the one beyond.
There, where the frost makes all the birches burn
Yellow as cow-lilies, and the pale sky shines
Like a polished shell between black spruce and pines,
Some strange thing tracks us, turning where we turn.

You'll say I dreamed it, being the true daughter
Of those who in old times endured this dread.
Look! Where the lily-stems are showing red
A silent paddle moves below the water,
A sliding shape has stirred them like a breath;
Tall plumes surmount a painted mask of death.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Elinor Morton Wylie

Elinor Morton Wylie was an American poet and novelist popular in the 1920s and 1930s. "She was famous during her life almost as much for her ethereal beauty and personality as for her melodious, sensuous poetry." more…

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    "Atavism" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 17 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/10141/atavism>.

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