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The Promise Seems True

Text of Poem

Snow wastes away, icicles rot,
tax receipts describe the land
you walk in rubber boots.
The gate rips your sleeve with a
loose wire, an arch of cornstalks
snares your foot, the waterway
up which you walk trips you with
a mat of weeds, a hen pheasant soars
from underfoot, the sun squints
in your eyes. Have you read this page
plain in the mud, or its legend
about the mustard seed or the fool
with green eyes who gave thanks for manure?
You trudge past rows of stalks, broken
by iron teeth, a half-shelled ear
of corn, rabbit signs, fringes of
dead grass, a crevice where a gulley
starts—do you remember when this land
was the land of hope? You breathe hard,
damp March air, slush in your path,
the year marks you older, but still,
in your cells, lit caves ago, spring’s fire,
stir, warmth, makes the promise seem true.

First Line
Snow wastes away, icicles rot,
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Antigonish Review 2 (Summer 1971) 76.
Complete Poems
Word Count
Poetic Form
Twitter Quote
do you remember when this land / was the land of hope?