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By Richard Aldington

Women’s tears are but water;

The tears of men are blood.


He sits alone in the firelight

And on either side drifts by

Sleep, like a torrent whirling,

Profound, wrinkled and dumb.


Circuitously, stealthily,

Dawn occupies the city;

As if the seasons knew of his grief

Spring has suddenly changed into snow


Disaster and sorrow

Have made him their pet;

He cannot escape their accursed embraces.

For all his dodgings

Memory will lacerate him.


What good does it do to wander

Nights hours through city streets?

Only that in poor places

He can be with common men

And receive their unspoken

Instinctive sympathy.


What has life done for him?

He stands alone in the darkness

Like a sentry never relieved,

Looking over a barren space,

Awaiting the tardy finish.


from Coterie, 1920

  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Richard Aldington
Richard Aldington was one of the founding poets of the Imagist Movement along with his friend Ezra Pound and wife H.D. His poetry is heavily influenced by Japanese art and contains many references to Greek tragedies and myths.

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