The Dark Chamber

By Louis Untermeyer 1885–1977 Louis Untermeyer
The brain forgets but the blood will remember.
      There, when the play of sense is over,
The last, low spark in the darkest chamber
      Will hold all there is of love and lover.

The war of words, the life-long quarrel
      Of self against self will resolve into nothing;
Less than the chain of berry-red coral
      Crying against the dead black of her clothing.

What has the brain that it hopes to last longer?
      The blood will take from forgotten violence,
The groping, the break of her voice in anger.
      There will be left only color and silence.

These will remain, these will go searching
      Your veins for life when the flame of life smolders;
The night that you two saw the mountains marching
      Up against dawn with the stars on their shoulders;

The jetting poplars’ arrested fountains
      As you drew her under them, easing her pain;
The notes, not the words, of a half-finished sentence;
      The music, the silence. . . . These will remain.

Louis Untermeyer, “The Dark Chamber” from Burning Bush (New York: Harcourt, 1928). Permission is granted by arrangement with the Estate of Louis Untermeyer, Norma Anchin Untermeyer c/o Professional Publishing Services. The reprint is granted with the expressed permission by Laurence S. Untermeyer.

Source: Burning Bush (1928)

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Poet Louis Untermeyer 1885–1977


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 Louis  Untermeyer


Louis Untermeyer was the author, editor or compiler, and translator of more than one hundred books for readers of all ages. He will be best remembered as the prolific anthologist whose collections have introduced students to contemporary American poetry since 1919. The son of an established New York jeweler, Untermeyer's interest in poetry led to friendships with poets from three generations, including many of the century's . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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