Where long the shadows of the wind had rolled,
Green wheat was yielding to the change assigned;
And as by some vast magic undivined
The world was turning slowly into gold.
Like nothing that was ever bought or sold
It waited there, the body and the mind;
And with a mighty meaning of a kind
That tells the more the more it is not told.
So in a land where all days are not fair,
Fair days went on till on another day
A thousand golden sheaves were lying there,
Shining and still, but not for long to stay—
As if a thousand girls with golden hair
Might rise from where they slept and go away.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on July 24, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.
“The Sheaves” first appeared in Robinson’s Dionysus in Doubt (The Macmillan Company, 1925). The poem is one of several Petrarchan sonnets (a form frequently employed by Robinson) included in the book. In Edwin Arlington Robinson (New Directions, 1946), Yvor Winters wrote that the poem “[e]mploys a descriptive technique to symbolize the impenetrable mystery of the physical universe as seen at any moment and the mystery of the fact of change.”