PRESENT-DAY POEMS OF JOY AND FAITH
Star. Points: selected by Mrs. Waldo Richards. Houghton Mifflin Co.: Boston, 1921.
Remember in the first place that this is not an anthology of modern poetry, so called, or of recent Poetry in general. It is not meant to be, if we may believe the statement on the cover that Mrs. Richards "has gathered about two hundred poems from the foremost poets of today, making her selection not only on the ground of literary excellence, but also for the message of joy, faith and promise that each poem carries." Probably there is a place for this sort of thing; we are acquainted with several middling-to-elderly ladies to whom it is the breath of life--at intervals. But personally we distrust poetry with an avowed message. Experience has taught us that all too often it forgets to be poetry at all, while the deepest, truest, clearest message comes from the poetry which pretends to be nothing more. So, if someone gives you the book, you will read it through, sigh. "Thank God for Robert Browning", and make a place on the bottom shelf or your bookcase, reflecting that here are those "songs of modern speech" which Andrew Lang weant when he wrote of the Odyssey.
To our untutored and violently prejudiced mind, there are five poems in the volume so much better than all the rest that they should be printed in red. They are: "On Growing Old", by John Masefield; "the Dawn Wind", by Rudyard Kipling; "The Mocking Fairy", by Walter de la Mare; "The Little "Uavern", by Edna St. Vincent Millany; "The Ploughman", by Karle Wilson Baker. One of these is a pair of second-best; one, a "Fairy laughing softly in the garden", one, a simple little song, both old and new; one, free verse. With half-a-dozen others, they hint what the book a pleasant book enough, With nothing very bad and-little very good night have been. Might have been but is not.