Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
Sugaring
By Raymond Holden
 
A MAN may think wild things under the moon—
In March when there is a tapping in the pails
Hung breast-high on the maples. Though you sink
To boot-tops only in the uncrusted snow,
And feel last autumn’s leaves a short foot down,        5
There will be one among the men you meet
To say the snow lies six feet level there.
“Not here!” you say; and he says, “In the woods”—
Implying woods that he knows where to find.
Well, such a moon may be miraculous,        10
And if it has the power to make one man
Believe a common February snow
The great storm-wonder he would talk about
For years if once he saw it, there may be
In the same shimmering sickle over the hill        15
Vision of other things for other men.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
The moon again!
Playing tonight with vapors that go up
And out into the silver. The brown sap works
Its foamy bulk over the great log fire.        20
Colors of flame light up a man, who kneels
With sticks upon his arm, and in his face
A grimace of resistance to the glow.
All that is burning is not under here
Boiling the early sap—I wonder why.        25
It is as calm as a dream of paradise
Out there among the trees, where runnels make
The only music heard above the sway
Of branches fingering the leaning moon.
And yet a man must go, when the sap has thickened,        30
Up and away to sleep a tired sleep,
And dream of dripping from a rotting roof
Back into sap that once was rid of him.
I wonder why, I wonder why, I wonder …
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Close the iron doors and let the fire die,        35
And the faint night-wind blow through the broken walls.
The sugar thickens, and the moon is gone,
And frost threads up the singing rivulets.
I am going up the mountain toward the stars,
But I should like to lie near earth tonight—        40
Earth that has borne the furious grip of winter
And given a kind of birth to beauty at last.
Look!—the old breath thrills through her once again
And there will be passion soon, shaking her veins
And driving her spirit upward till the buds        45
Burst overhead, and swallows find the eaves
Of the sugar-house untroubled by the talk
Of men gone off with teams to mend the roads.
I think I shall throw myself down here in the snow
So to be very near her when she stirs.        50
 
 
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