Friday, 8 July 2011

The Puritan

Once he was seduced by the soft luxurious hill,
The peace-inducing landscape, interminably green,
Where rivers are shallow, full of flowers and still,
Where the rain is gentle, falling without spleen.

Today he thinks of the bare pastures and the cedar trees,
The bitter land where a child is hardy and learns
To be fearful of his heart, to be wary of what he feels
Hiding among juniper bushes and the brown ferns.

He remembers the stone walls marking field from field,
Piled up out of infinite stones by the patient hand,
He thinks of the thin harvest that those pastures yield,
How the men are lean men, how it is a stern land.

He thinks of a country where roots are durable and deep,
Where the speech has a tang in it and is never mild,
Where the kind of peace is the snow coming sometimes like sleep,
So cold it would freeze up the tears of a soft child.
May Sarton (1912 - 1995)

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