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Deserted Hills

ISSUE:  Winter 1933

This land is heavy with sleeping generations
Of young forefathers who thrust back the hills
And cleared their pastures of blackberry blossoms, planting
Lilacs in dooryards, orchards on a slope,
And a grindstone in the shadow of red maples.
This land is heavy with the freight of seasons:
Damp with years of leaf-mould, hot with sun
Drying the clover, cool with the windy hint
Of slow rain on the mountains. One by one
The fences crumble and the walls go down,
And the wilderness my fathers fought comes back
With thickets and tangled grass and the scent of peace.
Out of the mountains a yellow wind is spilled
On fields that wait the horses and the calling
Of men to one another and the plough
Snagging on stone, turning the dark loam back;
But there are left only the dry white moss
Spread like a patch of snow before the wood,
The cobwebs strung in dead weeds, and the sound,
Running and soft, of rabbit and mouse come home.


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