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Wild Peaches

Written by: Elinor Wylie | Biography
 | Quotes (2) |
 1

When the world turns completely upside down 
You say we'll emigrate to the Eastern Shore 
Aboard a river-boat from Baltimore; 
We'll live among wild peach trees, miles from town, 
You'll wear a coonskin cap, and I a gown 
Homespun, dyed butternut's dark gold colour. 
Lost, like your lotus-eating ancestor, 
We'll swim in milk and honey till we drown.

The winter will be short, the summer long, 
The autumn amber-hued, sunny and hot, 
Tasting of cider and of scuppernong; 
All seasons sweet, but autumn best of all. 
The squirrels in their silver fur will fall 
Like falling leaves, like fruit, before your shot.

2

The autumn frosts will lie upon the grass 
Like bloom on grapes of purple-brown and gold. 
The misted early mornings will be cold; 
The little puddles will be roofed with glass. 
The sun, which burns from copper into brass, 
Melts these at noon, and makes the boys unfold 
Their knitted mufflers; full as they can hold 
Fat pockets dribble chestnuts as they pass.

Peaches grow wild, and pigs can live in clover; 
A barrel of salted herrings lasts a year; 
The spring begins before the winter's over. 
By February you may find the skins 
Of garter snakes and water moccasins 
Dwindled and harsh, dead-white and cloudy-clear.

3

When April pours the colours of a shell 
Upon the hills, when every little creek 
Is shot with silver from the Chesapeake 
In shoals new-minted by the ocean swell, 
When strawberries go begging, and the sleek 
Blue plums lie open to the blackbird's beak, 
We shall live well -- we shall live very well.

The months between the cherries and the peaches 
Are brimming cornucopias which spill 
Fruits red and purple, sombre-bloomed and black; 
Then, down rich fields and frosty river beaches 
We'll trample bright persimmons, while you kill 
Bronze partridge, speckled quail, and canvasback.

4

Down to the Puritan marrow of my bones 
There's something in this richness that I hate. 
I love the look, austere, immaculate, 
Of landscapes drawn in pearly monotones. 
There's something in my very blood that owns 
Bare hills, cold silver on a sky of slate, 
A thread of water, churned to milky spate 
Streaming through slanted pastures fenced with stones.

I love those skies, thin blue or snowy gray, 
Those fields sparse-planted, rendering meagre sheaves; 
That spring, briefer than apple-blossom's breath, 
Summer, so much too beautiful to stay, 
Swift autumn, like a bonfire of leaves, 
And sleepy winter, like the sleep of death.



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