Out through a sudden gap in the balsalm pines,
The farthest hill seemed almost one with the sky
In the west. The northern opiums were pressing
Through my limbs and I was just believing
That this night was of the rest–a scuff
Of the snow to lie among the sapphire moonslits
Shot through the chinks in a stone-piled wall.
It was then that I, a voice from the sled path,
Saw you–rather your shadow that smiled windowed
Rosefilm from the outswung shutters onto
The swollen yard. And deepening the tracks
That lay timberwards, I came through the ricks
Before a door of frosted moss and opened
Up your laughter, quiet and its likeness
Bouncing like a strutting echo on the bricks.

–December 1957 (first version)
  Winter 1958 (second version)
  August 27, 1998 (third version)

(“Hestia” was published in Volume XXVII of The Amherst Review, Amherst MA.)


This is a descriptive piece without any overt philosophy in it. Notice at its end the date of its original version (written in my native town in New York) and you will see how early my mind had the sense that its original cast carries with it the doom of exile, for “Hestia” (the title is the name of the ancient Greek goddess of the hearth) is a poem about homelessness and the vivid longing for home as only that doom can generate it.

Published on October 31, 2006 at 4:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

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