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I Have Tasted This Land

ISSUE:  Autumn 1938

The Plentiful Hills

Red flowers of the creeper hold New honey cupped in pips.
The hummingbird, in a blur of gold,
Poises and sips.
A great tree up the woods is full Of the walnut’s fruity green And a squirrel in the hot noon lull Chaffers unseen.
Sheltered with rock, and deep and still,
Are pools where bright fish swim,
Arrowy shadows living well Under the stream-drooped limb.
Late mountain afternoon still shows,
Plainer than bird or trout,
Lean man, lean horse, and thin corn rows And hope that gutters out.

The Great Crop

The apples are gathered now And the work is done.
There is wind in the bough And the workers are gone,
Walking the roads to the hills,
With a friend or alone,
To a winter of ills And a life like a stone.

Snugly is stored a great crop;
But the cold has begun And the wind that is raving may drop A more valuable one.

Contemplating the Land

The night is still.
Uneasy the hills with peace,
Though lights scatter through sky and the valley floor.
For decades there sleepers have had release From thoughts of war.
With births and remembrance I am infixed here,
A tree that holds earth with a stubborn root—
Drinking, to flourish in its given year And bear its fruit.
In such a time the timid cower afraid;
But I have tasted the land. I know its iron vein.
These valleys, this earth, and these forests of shade Will yield hawks again.

The Place for Saying Good-By

The day-telling cock has crowed,
And you and I Have reached the place in the road To say good-by.
You, turning back, descend;
And the night has made Our good-by seem a bleak end,
Left me afraid.
But this final ridge to make: The living ahead,
A day about to break.
Behind—you, safe with the dead.


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