Friday, July 16, 2010

Scrutable Poetry Corner: "Anachronism" by Peggy Bacon

From the September 27, 1930 issue of The New Yorker, here's "Anachronism," written by a poetess with the rather unpoetic name of Peggy Bacon.
In the mummy-case the queen--
brittle toes and matted hair!
Her compelling portrait seen
on the lid, returns a stare.

Through millenniums enduring
as a relic, for a while
she was laughing and alluring
as a siren by the Nile.

Bead and bauble, tool and chattel,
symbol, amulet, and token,
effigies of sacred cattle
lie beside her, chipped or broken.

In the Bowery I meet
Sadie, similarly fair,
flashy sandals on her feet,
bangle, bead, and busy hair

(mummy-matted, tonsor twirled,
tinted with a dubious dye),
and a little serpent curled
in the angle of her eye.
Who was Peggy Bacon? She wrote poetry (and later fiction) for The New Yorker from the first month of publication up to the 1950s, and she even drew a few illustrations along the way:

You can find out much more online, starting here. She seems to have been a remarkable person.

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