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240Poem: THE SCREEN by Murdock Pemberton

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  • mrcooby
    Mar 17, 2014
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      THE SCREEN

      by Murdock Pemberton

      From midnight till the following noon
      I stand in shadow,
      Just a splotch of white,
      Unnoted by the cleaning crew
      Who've spent their hours of toil
      That I might live again.
      Yet they hold no reverence for my charms,
      And if they pause amid their work
      They do not glance at me;
      All their admiration, all their awe,
      Is for the gold and scarlet trappings of the home
      That's built to house my wonders;
      Or for the gorgeous murals all around,
      Which really, after all,
      Were put in place as most lame substitutes,
      Striving to soothe the patron's ire
      For those few moments when my face is dark.
      Yes, men have built a palace sheltering me,
      And as the endless ocean washes on its stretch of beach
      The tides of people flow to me.

      All things I am to everyone;
      The newsboys, shopgirls,
      And all starved souls
      Who've clutched at life and missed,
      See in my magic face,
      The lowly rise to fame and palaces,
      See virtue triumph every time
      And rich and wicked justly flayed.
      Old men are tearful
      When I show them what they might have been.
      And others, not so old,
      Bask in the sunshine of my fairy tales.
      The lovers see new ways to woo;
      And wives see ways to use old brooms.
      Some nights I see the jeweled opera crowd
      Who seem aloof but inwardly are fond of me
      Because I've caught the gracious beauty of their pets.
      Then some there are who watch my changing face
      To catch new history's shadow
      As it falls from day to day.
      And at the noiseless tramp of soldier feet,
      In time to music of the warring tribes,
      The shadow men across my face
      Seem living with the hope or dread
      Of those who watch them off to wars.

      In sordid substance I am but a sheet,
      A fabric of some fireproof stuff.
      And yet, in every port where ships can ride,
      In every nook where there is breath of life,
      Intrepid men face death
      To catch for me the fleeting phases of the world
      Lest I lose some charming facet of my face.
      And all the masters of all time
      Have thrummed their harps
      And bowed their violins
      To fashion melodies that might be played
      The while I tell my tales.
      O you who hold the mirror up to nature,
      Behold my cosmic scope:
      I am the mirror of the whirling globe.