Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


After

I will not walk in the wood to-night,
I will not stand by the water’s edge
And see day lie on the dusk’s bright ledge
Until it turn, a star at its breast,
To rest.

I will not see the wide-flung hills
Closing darkly about my grief,
I wore a crown of their lightest leaf,
But now they press like a cold, blue ring,
Imprisoning.

I dare not meet that caroling blade,
Jauntily drawn in the sunset pine,
Stabbing me with its thrust divine,
Knowing my naked, aching need,
Till I bleed.

Sheathe your song, invincible bird,
Strike not at me with that flashing note,
Have pity, have pity, persistent throat,
Deliver me not to your dread delight
To-night!

I am afraid of the creeping wood,
I am afraid of the furtive trees,
Hiding behind them, memories,
Ready to spring, to clutch, to tear,
Wait for me there.

Credit


This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 10, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


“After” was published in A Canopic Jar (E. P. Dutton & Company, 1921).

Author


Leonora Speyer

Leonora Speyer was born in Washington, D.C., in 1872. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1927 for her poetry collection Fiddler’s Farewell (Alfred A. Knopf, 1926)

Date Published: 1921-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/after-1