The Whitetailed Hornet

Lhe white-tailed hornet lives in a balloon That floats against the ceiling of the woodshed. The exit he comes out at like a bullet Is like the pupil of a pointed gun. And having power to change his aim in flight, He comes out more unerring than a bullet. Verse could be written on the certainty With which he penetrates my best defense Of whirling hands and arms about the head To stab me in the sneeze-nerve of a nostril. Such is the instinct of it I allow. Yet how about the insect certainty That...

Missive Missile

Some one in ancient Mas d'Azil Once took a little pebble wheel And dotted it with red for me, And sent it to me years and years A million years to be precise Across the barrier of ice Two round dots and a ripple streak, So vivid as to seem to speak. But what imperfectly appears Is whether the two dots were tears, Two tear drops, one for either eye, And the wave line a shaken sigh. But no, the color used is red. Not tears but drops of blood instead. The line must be a jagged blade. The sender...

The Kitchen Chimney

Builder, in building the little house, In every way you may please yourself But please please me in the kitchen chimney Don't build me a chimney upon a shelf. However far you must go for bricks, Whatever they cost a-piece or a pound, Buy me enough for a full-length chimney, And build the chimney clear from the ground. It's not that I'm greatly afraid of fire, But I never heard of a house that throve (And I know of one that didn't thrive) Where the chimney started above the stove. And I dread...

The Vindictives

To his subjects to gather them more. And his subjects wrung all they could wring But when there seemed no more to bring, And strangled the wretch with a string. That a king might have hoped to compel Not a half, not a third, not a tithe. The king had scarce ceased to writhe, If gold pleased the conqueror, well, The conqueror henceforth should lack. They gave no more thought to the king. All joined in the game of hide-gold. They swore all the gold should go...

The Bonfire

Oh , let's go up the hill and scare ourselves, As reckless as the best of them to-night, By setting fire to all the brush we piled With pitchy hands to wait for rain or snow. Oh, let's not wait for rain to make it safe. The pile is ours we dragged it bough on bough Down dark converging paths between the pines. Let's not care what we do with it to-night. Divide it No But burn it as one pile The way we piled it. And let's be the talk Of people brought to windows by a light Thrown from somewhere...

Leaf Treader

I have been treading on leaves all day until I am autumn-tired. God knows all the color and form of leaves I have trodden on and mired. Perhaps I have put forth too much strength and been too fierce from fear. I have safely trodden underfoot the leaves of another year. All summer long they were over head, more lifted up than I. To come to their final place in earth they had to pass me by. All summer long I thought I heard them threatening under their breath. And when they came it seemed with a...

Build SoilA Political Pastoral

The one you had the talk with, you remember, Hard times have struck me and I'm on the move I've had to give my interval farm up For interest, and I've bought a mountain farm For nothing down, all-out-doors of a place, All woods and pasture only fit for sheep. But sheep is what I'm going into next. At thirty cents a bushel. Give me sheep. I know wool's down to seven cents a pound. But I don't calculate to sell my wool. I didn't my potatoes. I consumed them....

The Lesson for Today

If this uncertain age in which we dwell Were really as dark as I hear sages tell, And I convinced that they were really sages, I should not curse myself with it to hell, But leaving not the chair I long have sat in, I should betake me back ten thousand pages To the world's undebatably dark ages, And getting up my mediaeval Latin, Seek converse common cause and brotherhood (By all that's liberal I should, I should) With poets who could calmly take the fate Of being born at once too early and...

Blue Ribbon at Amesbury

Such a fine pullet ought to go All coiffured to a winter show, And be exhibited, and win. The answer is this one has been And come with all her honors home. Her golden leg, her coral comb, Her fluff of plumage, white as chalk, Her style, were all the fancy's talk. It seems as if you must have heard. She scored an almost perfect bird. In her we*make ourselves acquainted With one a Sewell might have painted. Here common with the flock again, At home in her abiding pen, She lingers feeding at the...

On the Heart s Beginning to Cloud the Mind

That was maintained against the night, It seemed to me, by the people there, It would flutter and fall in half an hour But my heart was beginning to cloud my mind. That far light flickers because of trees. The people can burn it as long as they please They can leave it to someone else to tend. I should find it no more no less intense. When one will say, 'Let us put it out.' They can keep it burning as long as they please They can put it out whenever they please. One looks out last from the...

The Wind and the Rain

That far-off day the leaves in flight Were letting in the colder light. A season-ending wind there blew That as it did the forest strew I leaned on with a singing trust And let it drive me deathward too. With breaking step I stabbed the dust, Yet did not much to shorten stride. I sang of death but had I known The many deaths one must have died Before he came to meet his own Oh, should a child be left unwarned That any song in which he mourned Would be as if he prophesied It were unworthy of the...

Blueberries

You ought to have seen what I saw on my way To the village, through Patterson's pasture to-day Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb, Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum In the cavernous pail of the first one to come And all ripe together, not some of them green And some of them ripe You ought to have seen ' 'I don't know what part of the pasture you mean.' ' You know where they cut off the woods let me see-It was two years ago or no can it be No longer than that and the following...

Voice Ways

But the weather is clear tonight, Thanks to a clearing rain. The mountains are brought up near The stars are brought out bright. Your old sweet-cynical strain Would come in like you here 'So we won't say nothing is clear.' I found a dimpled spider, fat and white, On a white heal-all, holding up a moth Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth Assorted characters of death and blight Mixed ready to begin the morning right, Like the ingredients of a witches' broth A...