Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EXILE FROM NEW ENGLAND, by DOROTHY HALE SMITH



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EXILE FROM NEW ENGLAND, by            
First Line: Where, o heart, are the cedared pastures
Last Line: To the wind on the hills and the lake in the valley of home.
Subject(s): New England


Where, O heart, are the cedared pastures
Overwhelmed with bluets in the first warmth of May
And the dry wan Indian tobacco?
Where are the pines, the ancient oaks, and the unbelievable maples,
Left from before the hard old clearing days of our fathers?
Where shall we find again the odor that realized springtime,
Cool arbutus discovered under the moist dead leaves
After the rains of April had drowned themselves in their own endeavor;
And that other smell, perversely endearing and unforgotten
Skunk cabbage green in the swamp?

Will the summer sun burn us again by the dusty roadside,
Where a lusty sequence of yellows,
Elecampane and primrose and goldenrod,
Marched the brief summer up to the gates of September?

There was a road through the woods, O heart, that in autumn
Was lighted by dogwood sprays more fair than in May,
And where, when the hermit-thrush no longer sang in the twilight,
The blue-jays were raucous all day.
When shall we climb again the heart-breaking hillside
Where all the world's kingdoms are ours when we win to the top
Spread out in immaculate snow --
Descending, the frozen-in rocks will not slip at a footstep
And the cracks of the gray old boulders are filled with their future
destruction.

Wood-smoke at twilight, sweet wild strawberries,
Wind in the pine trees, the brook's laugh, the robin at dusk,
Moss on the rocks, the laurel's breath, and the cold winter sunrise,
To all of the senses at once and apart they say "Come"!
Heart, we must go, what is there to keep us from going
To the wind on the hills and the lake in the valley of home.





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