Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MOUNTAINS, by SARAH NORCLIFFE CLEGHORN



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MOUNTAINS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: It's fenced all round with mountains where we live
Last Line: Beyond the hollow, where I had a cousin . . .
Subject(s): Mountains; Hills; Downs (Great Britain)


It's fenced all round with mountains where we live,
"Like as Jerusalem," the Bible says;
You know, "as round about Jerusalem."
Some people feel the mountains "on their chests";
They feel them like forbidding walls, they say,
That scant the winter days, and darken them.
But that's not true; for winter afternoons
Are pieced out by the long-drawn afterglow.
Blaze Mountain must have got its name from that,
Although it's not like firelight, but darker,
More purpling; cooler. The artist that comes here
Has never painted Blaze. His favorite
Is Bald Fowl; but he doesn't call it Bald Fowl.
He calls it Eagle Peak, or Lair of the Winds.
"Lair of the Winds by Moonlight" was one picture.
Blueberry Mountain, Blaze, and Catamount
Are all more suitable, I think, to paint;
They're closer wooded, and a rounder shape.
Or Windward Mountain; for it has a rock,
A kind of castle cliff, that strangers take
For a hotel, sometimes.

On Blueberry
There is a pond, where Daniel Webster came
And made a speech, some eighty years ago;
And all the villages, for miles around,
Went up with toy log-cabins and hard cider
Free for all comers. Strangers always say
We ought to mark the spot; but it's well known.
The one I like the best is Pioneer,
Chiefly, I guess, because I used to live
Over the saddle of it, in a town
So little, and so backward, it's gone out
Like damp leaves in a bonfire. And our house,
Our square one-chimneyed house, our sagging barn,
Our lilacs, locusts, and great wineglass elm --
The deer stray all over the old place now.
I saw a young fawn in the schoolhouse door,
And I was half afraid the timbers might
Fall in and break its pretty, fragile spine.
I frightened it away, and it ran down
Right over where we used to keep our bees,
And made me think of the last night my brother
Julius . . . my youngest brother . . . was alive.
-- But that was years and years and years ago.

That long blue mountain, Lebanon, on the west,
Has always seemed to me a fairy place,
Largely, I take it, from its Bible name:
"Cedars of Lebanon"; I used to think
There must be cedars on the other side,
For I could see the kind of woods on this side;
Maples and birches -- white and yellow birches,
Hemlock and spruce and patches of dark pine.
But there was more than cedars calling me
To Lebanon; a village over there
Beyond the Hollow, where I had a cousin . . .





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