Poem Against War (1936)

SHRILL gulls in the twisted trees with salty voices,
rust-throated crows above the raw-boned beaches;
crickets rubbing flimsy wings in the meadowy
gulf of hills, and grasshoppers springing on gray-green
angled legs through a thin gold cloud of evening:
let it be these by which we well remember
our childhood stained and innocent and hard.
Bronze kelp on wet and purple shale, and blackened
streamers dried in the hollowed rock; bright snakes
of mountain-water writhing through melted valleys,
thistles in upland pastures bluer than heaven,
the slanted roads, and late moon-colored stubble:
let it be these by which we know our country.
Not by crane-masted, vessel-screaming harbors
nor the beaconed iron stems of citied forests,
not by the steel hawks of disaster roaring
across pure skies aghast at monstrous purpose,
not by the fixed and millioned meadows waiting
the jerk of vast perfected death, nor by
collapsing mountains, let us learn the reaping
of a generous land. We have inherited curving
clean dark furrows and wind in the corn and redtop
and the cricket’s eternal burden in fern and pasture,
we have inherited peace and difficult wisdom:
let it be these by which we know our country.
When we comprehend our childhood simple and hard,
then may we know how to bear our seed and our harvest.