Dear Readers,

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Monday Morning Poem:Justice Denied in Massachusetts

Justice Denied in Massachusetts (1927)

Let us abandon then our gardens and go home
And sit in the sitting-room.
Shall the larkspur blossom or the corn grow under the cloud?
Sour to the fruitful seed
Is the cold earth under this cloud,
Fostering quack and weed, we have marched upon but cannot conquer;
We have bent the blades of our hoes against the stalks of them.

Let us go home, and sit in the sitting-room.
Not in our day
Shall the cloud go over and the sun rise as before,
Beneficent upon us
Out of the glittering bay,
And the warm winds be blown inward from the sea
Moving the blades of corn
With a peaceful sound.
Forlorn, forlorn,
Stands the blue hay-rack by the empty mow.
And the petals drop to the ground,
Leaving the tree unfruited.
The sun that warmed our stooping backs and withered the weed uprooted -
We shall not feel it again.
We shall die in darkness, and be buried in the rain.

What from the splendid dead
We have inherited -
Furrows sweet to the grain, and the weed subdued -
See now the slug and the mildew plunder.
Evil does not overwhelm
The larkspur and the corn;
We have seen them go under.

Let us sit here, sit still,
Here in the sitting-room until we die;
At the step of Death on the walk, rise and go;
Leaving to our children's children this beautiful doorway,
And this elm,
And a blighted earth to till
With a broken hoe.

This poem, written by sexy ingenue, brilliant sonneteer, and Egalitarian Bookworm Chick patron saint Edna St. Vincent Millay, was written in response to the state-sponsored murder of Sacco and Vanzetti, which Millay had tried to protest with all her might.

So yeah, the blighted earth and the mildew and weeds-- it's an extended metaphor about the end of America. America is the farmhouse and the once-prosperous farm that is now decayed, corrupted, and resistant to change and cultivation. The despondent farmers are the truly patriotic Americans, thwarted by injustice.

Now go back and read it again and absorb ESM's genius.