Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WALL, by ABBIE FARWELL BROWN

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THE WALL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Not love a wall
Last Line: How well I love the wall!
Subject(s): Walls

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall"

"NOT love a wall!"
I sit above the meadow in the glowing fall,
Tracing the gray redoubt from square to square
That bounds the acres harvest-ripe and fair.
And wonder if it's true?
Nay! Ask the sumac and the teeming vine
That lean upon the boulders;
The crimsoning ivy and the wild woodbine,
Whose eager fingers clutch the stony shoulders;
The golden-rod, the aster, and the rue.
Ask the red squirrel with the chubby cheek
Skipping from stone to stone
By a quick route, his hidden hoard to seek,
Making the little viaduct his own.
Look where the woodchuck lifts a cautious head
Between the rocks, close by the cabbage bed;
The honey-bees have built a secret hive
In a forgotten chink;
And there a gray cocoon is tucked away,
Shrouding a miracle of mauve and pink
To wait its Easter Day.
The wall with pageantry is all alive.

And I who gaze
On the dark border here,
Drawn like a ribbon round the pasture-ways,
Embroidered with the glory of the year --
What is the wall to me?
Has it no beauty more than eyes can see?
Lo, I remember how in days of old
A grandsire toiled with weariness and pain
To dig the clumsy boulders from the mould;
Piled them in ordered rows again,
Fitting them firm and fast,
A monument to last
Long after his own harried day was past.
He cleared the rocky soil for corn and grain
By which his children throve
To carry on the race.
We live by his life-giving.
I see each stone, rough like his granite face --
Uncompromising, stern, no slave to love,
Dowered with little grace,
Grim with the hard, unjoyful task of living;
But strong to stand the wrath of storm and time,
And bolts that heaven lets fall.
Built of a patriot's prime --
How well I love the wall!

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