Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

Arrow Music by Bryher, an electronic edition

by W. Bryher [Bryher, Annie Winifred Ellerman]

date: 1922
source publisher: J. & E. Bumpus
collection: Early 20th Century Literature

Book Contents

Table of Contents


An old Egyptian said:
"it is a dream which leads them,
on toward Babylon, out toward the sea."

A dream--
scorched on the wastes for a dream,
scorched till the skin cracked under the helmet-rim,
till we printed a way with bones
for the swordsmen who followed us . . . .
we died; but not for a dream.

We marched east
from the wolf-fight at midnight,
from Thracian snow, from bent roofs,
from pulse, from winter beans.

Alexander said:
"I will fill your shields with jasper,
your helmets with roses;
I will give you Persia for a sword-belt;
slake your thirst with girls,
(frail wind-violets
that freeze the sleet to colour,
heavy camelias
whiter than your dream of water;)
I will show you marvels over the edge of the desert,
agate deer, the mirage of a city,
an elephant with emerald eyes.

Some of us had Troy in our veins;
after eight hundred years
an earlier, lovelier city
(burnt ashes, arrow-music,)
drew us back to the plains.

South with Hanno,
east with Alexander--
it is better to die beneath a Persian rose-bush
than to smell dung and cabbages for forty years.