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Wild Peaches

 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.

by Elinor Wylie
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