South Star

By John Gould Fletcher
SINCE, once youth is passed, we all live a great deal in our memories, one of the most popular forms of poetry will always be what we might call the poetry of revery. Mr. Fletcher’s book is almost all of this character. The long poem on ‘The Story of Arkansas’ is a decorous and dignified sequence of historical scenes, but it is not history lighted by any fresh poetic vision. For the rest, to anyone with a nostalgia tor the South, the poems will ‘give a very echo to the seat where Love sits throned.’ It is all here: the clay, the cotton, the magnolias, the oaks, the hickories, the cedars, the white-porticoed houses, the croon of the slow dark voices, the grandfathers, cousins, and aunts. And it is all expressed at a sustained level of adequacy, never surprising by a fine excess, and never sinking below the careful and the competent.
There are vivid pictures: —
An old negro man mounted upon a mule without saddle,
His ragged blue trousers dangling, his coat pinned close to the throat,
His cotton umbrella held stiffly over his head,
Riding with the dignified air and easy unhurried movement
Of an ancient Egyptian king.
But there are also
Miles on miles of flamelike falling cotton
Furrows that outwards spread in flight unending. . . .
E. D.