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ISSUE:  Spring 1932

Strange heart, that knows not whether it loves or no,
Or, loving, loves a stranger or a friend!
Here is a puzzle without beginning or end,
Subtle as Chinese ivories.
Oh, slow
And baffled heart, how many hours, weeks, years,
Will you be returning to this, abandoning it,
And again returning? The design’s exquisite,
And torment has enchantments, it appears.
Is it only a game? A thing to make time move
When twilight crowds the room, and the wind blows east?
The hero’s heart is his solitary feast,
But bitterer is this employ of love.
And would one solve the problem, daring to send
Its pieces to the unknown, to the beloved?
What then were proved thereby, and what disproved?
Do not entreat the stranger, heart, do not question the friend!

Peace of the clouds, the sky, the sod-
Are these not all the peace of God?
I have been weary, now I rest
My heart against the brown earth’s breast;
Flat on the care-free grass I lie,
And watch the trees and far off sky;
While ants and neighbors of the ground,
Creep here and there, and round and round,
And green blades tickle in my ear
A joke too wise for me to hear.
“Consider how the lilies grow”—
Lord, neither let me spin nor sew!
Not one small needleful of prayer I’ll stitch today,
I who with care—
Such foolish care!—have sought to spin
Some virtues for my heart within.
Lord God, you clothed that apple tree—
Will you not clothe the soul of me?

Margaret Prescott Montague


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