Dame Liberty Reports From Travel

Sit tight, little hills, little valleys.
Little towns, sit dark.
Pull in your steep gray gravel slides.
Cover your glenside treefalls from
A tent-slit glitter of nomad’s eyes;
The dandelion digger’s come;
She looks for her remembered mark
On stone and crossbar. Little homes, sit dumb, Sit dark.
The dandelion digger’s shawl
Blows ragged over the pasture wall;
Her swart skin dusted damp with earth,
Blade worn nimble and handle of horn
Heavy with hieroglyphic symbol,
Bends to the bitter weed of dearth.
Sit dark, little houses. Little towns, sit tight.
Lest you should know her, have her in,
And sit up listening half the night
To coarse-lipped tales of where she’s been
And violent accusations flung:
Where is the mill? she’ll whine.
The miller, what of him,
Who ground so salty fine
His wildwind shriek: Born free?
The baker, where is he,
Who hid the brown buck slave,
The day the Law came through,
Deep in his oven? What
Of resolute wives, green boys,
Armed to the teeth? Is this
Safe semblance all you’ve got
Left of the lively villages I knew?
Look in my face! Its sparse,
Hawk-ruthless stubbornness
Was your maternal source;
Nor were you all I bore!
Poorer than you were once,
Diggers of acorns, strumming
Bold chords of devil-may-care,
Behind me, from a younger pair,
Ebullient hordes break thoroughfare;
Prepare to join; prepare
To own your wilderness heritage,
Or else beware, beware!
Sit tight, little homes, sit dark.
Pull in your neat No Trespass signs;
The dandelion digger’s come;
She looks for her remembered mark.
She knows it’s there, it’s there.