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

Table of Contents

Poem >>


We come to forget.

In the swirl of the sand . . . in the roar of your voices . . . in the wolf-snarls. . . clang of the gates, there is a dream more potent than dream, there is power, the chance of death.

Whether with sword or with rose-leaf, the lives you will not live come forward--we, of the perished cities come before you, drunken with your voices, with wolf-snarls, with clang of the gates.
We, the doomed to death, salute you." In the sand, in the roses, we come to forget.

It is too much pain to press Myrica or Ion to our breasts . . . life is too sharp a pain . . . better to stand in the torch light and sing to you, dance for you, fight for you, easier . . . sweeter . . .
We come to forget

The glare of the burnt wood shrivels our wreaths; your voices are tanged with onions and cheap wine. But our bodies--are they not worth a city? Was Troy wonderful as a naked warrior; was Carthage lovely as a flute-playing girl?

Who should understand? Neither the wolves nor the faces. Neither the girls with veils across their eyes nor the white youths that draw songs from flute or bronze. Not ours the god on the heights, not ours, patience or fortitude. We have the power and the weakness. . . pain and then happiness. . . ``We, the doomed to death, salute you". . . for this moment we endured.

We shall hear the sea as we drop to the white sand . . . we shall smell the fields as the rose-leaves fall over us . . . your voice thunder our death . . . we shall forget you tried to break us . . . forget pain . . . forget love . . . in the shock, in the roar of sleep.