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ANTHOLOGY OF MASSACHUSETTS POETS (4)

2006-08-28 19:24

    TWO MOODS FROM THE HILL

    I. YOUTH

    I LOVE to watch the world from here, for all The numberless living portraits that are drawn Upon the mind. Far over is the sea, Fronting the sand, a few great yellow dunes, A salt marsh stumbling after, rank and green, With brackish gullies wandering in between, All this from the hill. And more: a clump of dwarfed and twisted cedars, Sentinels over the marsh, and bright with the sun A field of daises wandering in the wind As though a hidden serpent glided through, A broken wall, a new-plowed field, and then The dusty road and the abodes of men Surrounding the hill. How small the enclosure is wherein there lives Each phase and passion of life, the distant sail Dips in the limpid bosom of the sea, >From that far place to where in state the turf Raises a throne for me upon the hill, Each little love and lust of a living thing Can thus be compassed in a rainbow ring And seen from the hill.

    II. AGE

    Why did I build my cottage on a hill Facing the sea?

    Why did I plan each terraced lawn to slope Down to the deep blue billowy breast of hope, Surging and sweeping, laughing and leaping, Tumbling its garments of foam upon the shore, Rustling the sands that know my step no more, I should have found a valley, deep and still, To shelter me.

    There flows the river, and it seems asleep So far away, Yet I remember whip of wave and roar Of wind that rose and smote against the oar, Smote and retreated, Proud but defeated, While I rejoiced and rowed into the brine, Drawing on wet and heavy -straining line The great cod quivering from the deep As counterplay. What is the solace of these hills and vales That rise and fall? What is there glorious in the greenwood glen, Or twittering thrush or wing of darting wren? Give me the gusty, Raucous and rusty Call of the sea gull in the echoing sky, The wild shriek of the winds that cannot die, Give me the life that follows the bending sails, Or none at all!

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