A spoon, a hinge, a crane, a blackened key,
Burnt glass translated as it hits the air —
Is this the very stuff of poetry?
The substance of Anne Bradstreet’s art, laid bare
By shovels on a bleak December day;
In the dim interest of a candle sun,
The earnest townsmen clear the sods away
Within a grid of strings — the past undone —
And yet, not even in her candid verse,
Can Anne and Simon, in their ring of flame —
A passion burning black as any hearse —
Come back and tell us what a holy name
Could lend to marriage — but it can’t be told,
We cannot understand — our hearth is cold.
© 2004 by Ellin Anderson. All rights reserved. No
part of this work may be copied or used in any way without written
permission from the author.
TO MY DEAR AND LOVING HUSBAND (III)
As loving hind that (hartless) wants her deer,
Scuds through the woods and fern with hark'ning ear,
Perplext, in every bush and nook doth pry,
Her dearest deer, might answer ear or eye;
So doth my anxious soul, which now doth miss
A dearer dear (far dearer heart) than this,
Still wait with doubts, and hopes, and failing eye,
His voice to hear or person to descry.
Or as the pensive dove doth all alone
(On withered bough) most uncouthly bemoan
The absence of her love and loving mate,
Whose loss hath made her so unfortunate,
Ev'n thus do I, with many a deep sad groan,
Bewail my turtle true, who now is gone,
His presence and his safe return still woos,
With thousand doleful sighs and mournful coos.
Or as the loving mullet, that true fish,
Her fellow lost, nor joy nor life do wish,
But launches on that shore, there for to die,
Where she her captive husband doth espy.
Mine being gone, I lead a joyless life,
I have a loving peer, yet seem no wife;
But worst of all, to him can't steer my course,
I here, he there, alas, both kept by force.
Return my dear, my joy, my only love,
Unto thy hind, thy mullet, and thy dove,
Who neither joys in pasture, house, nor streams,
The substance gone, O me, these are but dreams.
Together at one tree, O let us browse,
And like two turtles roost within one house,
And like the mullets in one river glide,
Let’s still remain but one, till death divide.
Thy loving love and dearest dear,
At home, abroad, and everywhere.