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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

DEFENSE OF DESOLATION, by                    
First Line: Patiently poverty will tarnish
Last Line: As boughs with lilacs, blossom with their small, white ghosts
Alternate Author Name(s): Shearer, Harold H., Mrs.
Subject(s): Poverty

Patiently poverty will tarnish
This old house if it is left alone;
If riches' brushes, suave with varnish,
Will somehow miss this moss, and the cracked stone,
Through which the green grass bursts, can but be saved
From those glib tools so keen to bevel,
Block and glaze, so sharp to plane all waved
And beautiful unevenness, to level
Alders into hedges and gentians to a lawn.
May those, who ruin with repair, be drawn
Down other roads, here may old metals
Rust like the sumach, let this sodden crust
Of brown, rain-honeyed eaves green over with the petals
of the roof-flowers' slow rosettes, and through this dust
Loose many-footed mildew's tufted tread.
What though the living leave it? How the dead
Will love the gray and silver skeleton
Of their once golden home, and, terrifying none,
Return to whisper, till the beams and slanting posts,
As boughs with lilacs, blossom with their small, white ghosts

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