Marching Men

By Marjorie Pickthall 1883–1922 Marjorie Pickthall
Under the level winter sky
I saw a thousand Christs go by.
They sang an idle song and free
As they went up to calvary.

Careless of eye and coarse of lip,
They marched in holiest fellowship.
That heaven might heal the world, they gave
Their earth-born dreams to deck the grave.

With souls unpurged and steadfast breath
They supped the sacrament of death.
And for each one, far off, apart,
Seven swords have rent a woman's heart.

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Poet Marjorie Pickthall 1883–1922

POET’S REGION Canada

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Religion, Christianity

Poetic Terms Couplet

Biography

Probably no other Canadian writer has suffered such a plunge in reputation as Marjorie Pickthall. Once she was thought to be the best Canadian poet of her generation. Now her work, except for two or three anthologized pieces, goes unread. The fact is that her initial popularity was based upon extraliterary criteria. Her rejection of modernism in style and attitude made her the darling of conservative Canadian critics. She was . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Christianity

POET’S REGION Canada

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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