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POETRY: A Magazine of Verse 


The cactus in the desert stands 
Like time's inviolate sentinel, 

Watching the sun-washed waste of sands 
Lest they their ancient secrets tell. 

And the lost love of mournful lands 
It knows alone and guards too well. 

Wiser than Sphynx or pyramid, 

It points a stark hand at the sky, 

And all the stars alight or hid 

It counts as they go rolling by ; 

And mysteries the gods forbid 
Darken its heavy memory. 

I asked how old the world was — yea, 
And why yon ruddy mountain grew 

Out of hell's fire. By night nor day 

It answered not, though all it knew, 

But lifted, as it stopped my way, 

Its wrinkled fingers toward the blue. 

Inscrutable and stern and still 

It waits the everlasting doom. 

Races and years may do their will — 
Lo, it will rise above their tomb, 

Till the drugged earth has drunk her fill 
Of sun, and falls asleep in gloom.