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Title: Tasting the Earth
Author: Gould, Mona, 1908-1999
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Tasting the Earth" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Copyright (C) 1943 by The Estate of Mona Gould.

"On the food of the strong I fed, on dark strange life itself, 
Wisdom-giving and sombre with the unremitting love of ages. 
There was dank soil in my mouth,
And bitter sea on my lips
In a dark hour, tasting the Earth."

James Oppenheim 

Copyright, Canada, 1943 
By Mona Gould 
All rights reserved - no part of this book may be reproduced 
in any form without permission in writing from the publisher, 
except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection 
with a review written for inclusion in a magazine or newspaper.
Printed in Canada T.H. Best Printing Co., Limited Toronto. Ont. 

To Graham and John 

Grateful acknowledgment is made to Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 
publisher, New York, for permission to use the lines from 
"Tasting the Earth" by James Oppenheim, from his 
Songs For the New Age (1914), and for permission to reprint to: 
Saturday Night, Chatelaine, Montreal C.A.A. Year Books, 
Canadian Forum., Gossip, Montrealer, Canadian Magazine, 
Woman's Illustrated (London, Eng. ), Woman's Journal (London, Eng.).


We all of us know that the ordinary every-day man and woman, 
the people we brush against in street cars, the people who read the 
funnies - the people who are like us - are capable of the profoundest 
depths of feeling and the noblest aspirations. But it is only on the 
rarest occasions that we happen to see one of them at it, so to speak, 
and when we do we have a certain sense of shame at intruding on 
something that really should be private between him and his God.

The artist enables us to see this ordinary man and woman in the 
moments when they are not ordinary, without any of this sense of 
intrusion. I think Mona Gould, in most of the verses in this volume, 
has been exceptionally successful in this kind of revelation, and 
I think Canada needs it. A number of these verses have been published 
in "Saturday Night" during the term of my editorship, and I am very 
glad that they are now to have a more permanent resting place.

B. K. Sandwell 


Colour in the Willows

"They Also Serve ..."

Litany for the Lonely 

This Was My Brother


"Toujours Gai"

That Girl in Hong Kong



Answer Me!

Immorality, 1943


You Wrote

Blood Donor Clinic 10 a.m.


Tasting the Earth

Spring Sunday ... in a Small Town

Ghost of New Year's Eve

Quiet Has Come Down


Rain ... in the City

You, the Sower of Seed



Autumn is Unfair


Portrait of Father

Small Christmas Tree

Ladies at Tea


Hill-top, Caledon

You, Being Dead


Night Garden

Some Quiet Day ... Perhaps


Colour In the Willows 

Darling ... the colour has come back, in the willows.
Remember how it was, last year? Incredibly orange ...
Little orange willow switches 
Hardly bending;
Remember the white shore road 
And the blue water in the Bay 
Still fretted with clotted snow 
At the sand edge?
The sky was a light, high blue
And all the clouds were little, and frisky.
And we kept making wagers about the willows 
At every curve in the road.
Darling ... the colour has come back in the willows;
But I have no one ... to bet with! 

"They Also Serve ..."

Nightly, still, I dress for you, 
In frocks of fabric and of hue 
You would have liked.
Silly, I know, when you are gone, 
To care if shoes are black or fawn; 
To match my lip rouge with a ring; 
To pin gardenias at my breast;
To brush my hair till it is sleek 
As carded silk ... and in my eyes 
To wear a look of glad surprise! 
Nightly, still, I dress for you -
Because I know you'd want me to!

Litany For the Lonely 

You're warmth and laughter ... 
You're the "good time"!
You're security ...
And sleeping with arms 'round 
And no night ...
And the dark shut out! 
You're pain
Drowned in joy,
And laughter from the heart ... 
You're loving kindness ...
The look of dear acquaintance 
And a hand to hold,

This Was My Brother
(For Lt.-Col. Howard McTavish, killed in action at Dieppe)

This was my brother 
At Dieppe, 
Quietly a hero 
Who gave his life 
Like a gift,
Withholding nothing.

His youth ... his love ...
His enjoyment of being alive ... 
His future, like a book
With half the pages still uncut -

This was my brother
At Dieppe -
The one who built me a doll house 
When I was seven,
Complete to the last small picture frame, 
Nothing forgotten.

He was awfully good at fixing things,
At stepping into the breach when he was needed. 

That's what he did at Dieppe;
He was needed.
And even Death must have been a little shamed 
At his eagerness! 


What's "nostAglia", Mums?
"NostAglia ... ?" Oh, you mean 
"Nostalgia", Son, let me see ... 
How can I explain it to you, this "nostAglia", 
(As good a word for it as any!)
Well ... Darling ...
"NostAglia", is that funny pit-of-the-tummy feeling
You get
Going down in elevators
Only you're not in an elevator -
It just comes.
Everything sort of goes away from you, 
And you feel a little scared
And a lot lonely ... 
It's like this
Remember Tippy ... the little brown dog ... 
And how we loved him;
And how he ran just a little ahead of you, 
Just a little too fast
And you, chasing him on your tricycle ... 
And the curb came,
And you stopped, 
And Tip, didn't
And he just lay there,
And the look was gone out of his eyes
And we tucked him away in a brown bean carton 
Under the apple tree
And the house was awfully quiet without him, 
That was "nostalgia".


And remember when we did the Plays, 
And you were Wakefield in the Jalna one, 
And we used to prop up your lines over the basin in the bathroom,
And you learned them while you brushed your teeth;
And you followed me round the kitchen 
While I made peanut butter cookies 
And took the part of Renny
At the same time ...
And it was pretty exciting
And mixed up, and very wonderful ... 
And the smell of make-up, remember that? 
And the keen edge of being treated like a grownup...
And the first taste of applause
And the feeling of "power" 
When you nip't your cue
Right on the nose;
And then it was all over
And there weren't any more rehearsals, 
And all the excitement was quenched
And school seemed uncommonly dull
And one night you went back to the theatre 
To get your little riding boots,
And it was deserted and dusty. 
But that lovely smell of make-up 
Still lingered in the dressing-room; 
And you stood there for a minute 
With one boot in your hand
And let it just "roll" over you ... 
The Play ... the lights ... the fun ... 
And then you gave yourself a little shake
And picked up the other boot ... and felt ... well ...
That was "nostaglia"!


And then ... remember the time in the Union Station
And we'd been down to Gammie's together 
Because Daddy was there ... on Last Leave ... 
And he'd met us at the train,
And taken you to the Mess
And you'd seen the Bunk, where he slept, 
And played a game of Darts,
And had a Coke with him in the Canteen, 
And gone to a Movie
And felt very proud when we came out 
Because your father looked so impressive in his uniform.
And because we'd agreed there'd be no fuss, 
No tears ... no last good-byes ...
Daddy had just said,
"So long, Sport ... I'll see you in the Funny Papers ..."
But for once
It wasn't funny.
And you were still holding the little metal disc in your hand
Daddy had stamped out for you 
With your name on it.
And you didn't seem to want to put it out of your hand
Not even in your pocket;
And you looked at me across a great, black gap...
And even I couldn't fix it ... this time ... 
And that was "nostalgia"!

"Toujours Gai" 

For Jamie, of the R.A.F. 

"He has outsoared the shadow of our night".


Bravely he kept his tryst with Death -
Who somehow knew it would come to pass -
But he tipped his cap at a rakish slant,
And he gave himself a smile, in the glass.
If his hand was clenched, there was none to see, 
If his heart was sore for the home he missed, 
And the eager face of his dearest love
And her flying hair ... and the lips he'd kissed. 
He had made for himself, from a little phrase 
A shield and a buckler to save the day -
And the little phrase was a bit of himself,
And he laughed when he said it, - "Toujours gai!"

That Girl In Hong Kong

That girl in Hong Kong ...
She must have loved frivolous things, too; 
Collected crystal brandy glasses,
Cut flowers for a white bowl ...
And dreamed the incredible bubbly-coloured dreams
That all girls do.

She might have been married, 
Tucked children off to bed at night; 
Told stories to;
Put candles on the table; 
Worn a white lace dress, 
Proud to be slender and desirable 
And womanly ...

That girl in Hong Kong ...
She felt safe ... and secure ... and thankful for security;
Maybe she chose a gay, almost boastfully red lipstick
Because it was Christmas. 

How pitiful is paint
On the mouth of one 


You can't put it into words, 
This feeling of remembering. 
It comes up like a little mist 
Between you, and your world ...
So that suddenly a flurry of leaves ...
Or pewter mugs ... shining in a shop window ...
Can make you stand quietly ...
Till this ache passes over!


Suddenly, my Darling ... 
Out of a deep sleep
I could smell the Sea 
And a salt wind blowing ... 
And I knew that you had gone from me!

Answer Me! 

Answer me this
What do lovers do
When there is no more meeting? 
When night comes down, quietly, 
And the moon rises over the fields ...

Even the dew on the grass must be pressed down 
By the eager feet of the returning dreamers; 
Hand turned against hand, like two children 
Coming back to a garden;
Voices soft, and anxious, and blurred with their intolerable longing!

Answer me this
What do lovers do 
When there is no more meeting?

Immortality, 1943 

Immortality ...
It's such a big word
I always thought it was something tremendous -
Big ... like a cathedral ... 
Or the Sea ...
Now, I think it's little 
But very certain -

Sometimes, it's in a ring, 
Or a pair of wings,
Or the badge off a Tanker's cap -
Or a kiss -

Sometimes it's a cable ... 
"Safe and well
All my love." 

Sometimes it's a child -
How he turns his head, 
The shape of his hands, 
His laugh
With the head thrown back, 
And joy, like a shining sword 
Cutting the dark -

Immortality ... 
It's what goes on, 
It's what marches on 
After the march is over -
It's wings in the sky
After the plane is down -

It's tears and laughter
And Beauty ... burning like a star 
Alive, ... in the heart ... 


The square in front of Notre Dame, 
I fancy it must look the same;
With trampled snow, and pigeons drifting 
From sky to earth; Cathedral lifting
Its classic spires ... aloof ... austere ... 
It must be like it was last year. 

Remember the tall Franciscan monk
With the blowing beard, that was red as flame ... 
And his earth-brown robes, and his sandaled feet ...
Remember? (You called me a darling name!) 

Remember ... I borrowed your handkerchief 
To tie on my head ... that we might go in? 
It was quiet, and dark - and warm and still 
With the whisper of "Aves", murmuring.

And we stood at the shrine of Sacre Coeur 
To light a candle against the day,
Too terribly soon ... when a boat would sail ... 
And you held my hand ... and forgot to pray. 

And suddenly-everything seemed so dear ... 
So precious, so lovely, so brief, and fair,
The whispered "Aves" ... the little hearts ... 
The candle shine on your darling hair.

The square in front of Notre Dame ... 
I fancy it must look the same.
Only ... one candle less, this year, 
At Sacre Coeur, my dear ... my dear!

You Wrote

You wrote:
"The Abbey pillars are worn smooth. 
Hundreds of shoulders leaned against their strength,
Age after age,
To set their smoothness, there .." 

And they shall lean again
Because of lads like you, 
Who wear their wings 
And find these things as wonderful 
As they had seemed
On printed pages head in nursery days!

For busts ... and plaques ... and effigies ... 
And figures carved in stone ... 
Tremendous tombs of Kings ...
Are not cathedral furniture. 

Here stand the dreams of men 
Articulate in stone.
Honour made manifest; 
The shadow of the Grail 
Falls like a silver whisper in this place. 

You wrote:
"The Abbey pillars are worn smooth ..." 
And I could see the valour in your face! 

Blood Donor Clinic 10 a.m. 

They file through the door,
They include men who look like ex-football players,
Big men, little men,
Men who have climbed down off coal trucks, 
Bond salesmen, men in uniform,
Sailors on leave from minesweepers, 
Whole men,
And men who have lost an arm or a leg in the last war,
Who cannot fight in this one,
Who remember what transfusions mean. 
Blind men have come
Who make little jokes 
About the "pretty nurse". 
It takes a few minutes;
A few minutes stretched comfortably out on a cot 
With your heart-beats measuring
Drop by drop the gift you give 
To keep some soul alive.
It takes a few minutes out of a single day 
To make you one of the vast army
Back of the fighting army. 

It takes a few minutes
But because of that few minutes 
Soldiers and sailors and flyers
Are going to come back after this war 
Who couldn't come back
Without that "gift".

It means mothers and children, 
Terribly hurt when bombs rained down, 
Are going to live to forget those anxious days, 
And laugh again, and breathe the air of quiet England.

It means that you have given something 
Money couldn't buy.
The "quality of mercy", Shakespeare said. 

It takes a few minutes
But it lets you in on a miracle!


We used to say
Oh, just in fun,
That when the time came 
We would run
Away together just the two ... 

And live like all good Pixies do 
Under a toadstool.

You laughed
And said we'd get quite tipsy 
On rain cocktails;
And ipsy-dipsy
We'd wander here ... and wander there, 
And I, with flowers in my hair.

You promised,
When you went away
You'd come for me; and on that day 
We'd seek the kindly, farthest star 
Where all the other lovers are.

You said:
"Just Death ... can keep me from... " 
Darling ... I know you meant to come! 

Tasting the Earth

And the wind went over the top of the birch trees
Like a great hand,
Stirring their feathery leaves and weaving violet shadows
On their shining surface. 

Lying flat on the young grass 
Stretched out very tall
And feeling wonderfully magnificent, 
I listened to my own heart beating. 

"Darling ... darling," said my heart, 
Pressed against the warm earth,
"Love is beautiful, and love will die..."
But can it be so terrible a thing
For love to sleep in this velvet earth?
I pressed my face against the fallen leaves 
And felt the sun tangled in my blowing hair, 
And felt the sun burning down into my very bones,
And knew suddenly, with a terrible aching certainty
That it was so.

"Love is beautiful, and love will die ..."
Said my heart, and even the dark earth 
Was little comfort!

Spring Sunday ... In a Small Town 

To-day they're having Church Parade;
The Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides, 
The Cubs and the Brownies,
Are all out, full force.
The uncertain, fumbling band begins a staggering march
And off they go, curling in a snaky line
Round the corner from the Market Square, 
Under the old town clock.
All the people in town
Seem to have hurried down to one spot 
To see their "young hopefuls" swinging past.
They don't march any too well, either, 
But that isn't noticed.
There they go up the steps of the old gray church
And in at the door.

There isn't any need for tears pushing up to the surface
But they do! 
The peace of it! 
The ironic, terrible sense of security, 
The threat under the dream!
Let the band play,
Let the children march, 
Let the parents weep! 

Ghost of New Year's Eve 

A dear ghost, a young ghost 
Walks this night,
Clad not in holy mail 
Robed not in white. 

Nothing like a halo
Round his brown head, 
Laughter on his young lips, 
Whimsical and red. 

Wearing old flannel slacks, jacket sleeve torn, 
"Sneakers" on his swift feet, 
Scuffed and well-worn.

A dear ghost, a young ghost, 
Sketch-book in hand, 
Pockets full of charcoal ... 
Militant you stand,

Lip caught between teeth 
Beautiful and white,
Eyes full of shining dreams 
On this night.

A dear ghost, a young ghost 
Walks this eve,
If he finds you paintable 
He will touch your sleeve, 

Saying, as the wind would, 
"Please stand still..." 
Sketching you and vanishing 
Over some hill!

Quiet Has Come Down (Owen Sound)

Quiet has come down over this little village 
As if a Nun, saying her beads
Had asked for peace 
And it been granted.

A white sort of quiet, 
Having to do with the snow 
And the little necklace of lights on the Main Street,
And the white prows of the fleet in the harbour, 
Silent, and folded in, like giant gulls.

Almost the whiteness of this quiet 
Is too beautiful to be borne.
Were it not for the ebony of the branches, 
And the dark arm of a church spire
And your black hair like a dark bird flying!


Hands have a way
Of betraying things. 
I found this out
In a small, strange way; 
You touched my face 
The other day!

Rain ... In the City

Even in the city
It has the smell of the country. 
Wet grasses ... thorny hedges,
And chestnuts shaking down their polished brownness.
And ghosts of apple trees.
I swear they haunt the city streets
And fling their sweetness over formal lawns 
And stiff, uncompromising dahlia beds! 

Just let the drops come stinging down 
Against your eyelids;
False tears that tangle in your lashes, 
Making blurs of all the lamp-post lights 
Until they swim like harbour lamps 
Up through the larkspur evening.

Feel it against your shins, 
The stinging slanting rain 
That laces all the gutters 
With its swathes of glittering brightness ... 

Feel it against your face ...
And think of sudden gusty showers,
A little horse's gleaming neck and flanks, 
The smell of rain on leather;
The smell of rain on saddle soap; 
And the pearly glitter of flying hoofs 
Bound for the stable.

Even in the city
It has the smell of the country!

You, the Sower of Seed 

You, the sower of seed
In this fertile field 
That is my body, 
Tenderly shall I care for it, 
Guard it from heat and cold 
And sudden change.

Only the softest sun shall shine on it
Wrap't in careful quietness
This white field shall sleep. 

Dream I, in arrowy adoration 
Of the garnering-in time.
Your seed ... sown in the field 
That is my body,
Quickening to life 
In the secret places 
Under my heart. 
And whatever the yield 
I shall deem it beautiful, 
Sprung from your seed.


"Mother!" he cried out to me, in the night. 
And I knew that he had been dreaming. 
Some dark and troubling shadow
Had pressed against him fearfully. 
And I turned him in his little bed 
And he drifted re-assured,
Into quiet sleep.
But who are we to turn to 
In the long night
When the black wings beat?


What is this mysterious crying flame,
This urge, deeper than the curve in the young flesh;
The round enchanting turn of the smooth wrist; 
The throat, white as the under side of a poplar leaf
And just as fair?

What is this hunger ... holy and terrible, 
Spawned in the marrow of the white bones? 
A hunger that cannot be drowned in surf breaking on a white beach;
Or lost, in the wind coursing through the lane of trees in the forest.

What is the spirit to do 
Chained as she is
Like hooded falcon to the wrist, 
When she can neither rise, nor fly, 
Nor sing her song in the darkness?

Autumn Is Unfair 

Autumn is unfair
To stir again, in lash of wood smoke, 
Scent of bitter berries
The ashes of desire.
To stir and prod with gnarled unfriendly fingers 
The leaves piled high about the tender roots, 
Disturbing the sleeping blossoms.

(Oh to be free of this damaging enchantment 
Of russet leaves and scarlet thorny hedges!) 

Even to walk quite swiftly in the evenings 
Down fog-filled streets
Pressing the cool to your lips, 
Is not enough;

O anodyne of snow,
Swift-falling, white, delivering angel,
Or rain ... or wind ... or any single thing 
To break this tenuous leash.

To let the heart sleep
Lightly, as the brown tulip bulbs ... 
To let the heart sleep!


When lovers lie
In summer grass
And watch the cloud ships 
As they pass,
Love is a blend
Of pain and bliss ... 
Somewhere a shadow, 
Dark and tall,
Across the heart-beat 
Seems to fall 
Denying joy ... 

This thing will go,
It will not stay 
When summer goes 
And you're away ...

So runs the thread of darkling song, 
And yet - within each other's eyes 
They drown this knowledge; and disguise 
The shadowy blight.
So ... each to each they turn and say 
"We have each other anyway!"

Portrait of Father 

He died, much as he lived, 
Not making any fuss
About it. Accepting all we did 
Quietly, and with a touch; of humour, 
As if to say, "Beloveds, if this helps you,
But I go ... anyway!"

Withdrawn, perceptibly withdrawn, 
He waged his little struggle, 
Agreeable to all the final desperate tries 
Science affords. He drifted out
Farther away. You couldn't even reach him 
With your hand, finally.
He'd made his peace with Death.
Just for a second, up from the 
Sargasso Sea of kindly opiates
He came ... living and sweet and somehow reassuring,
To name you, with his final stumbling breath!

Small Christmas Tree (For F. G.)

Stand very straight, small Christmas tree! 
Put on your tallest dignity,
Wear your tinsel bright and bravely, 
Carry your candles like holy things.
In the heart of a child you represent 
Beauty and light and sacrament; 
Your topmost star to him outshines the sun, 
Your branches every one
Are precious.

Stand very straight, small Christmas tree! 
You were chosen to grace a feast,
You were chosen to share this day. 
Holly for merriment,
Holly for joy.
And you to bring to a little boy 
Fabulous dreams.

Stand very straight, small Christmas tree! 
Looking with love on my small son's face, 
Sweet in your light,
I, this night, hear carols.
Know for certain that carols ring, 
Know for certain that angels sing; 
Stand very straight, small Christmas tree!

Ladies at Tea 

Ladies at tea
Frighten me! 

The tea is amber, 
The ices lush;
But I always feel
That I'm swallowing plush 
When the repartee 
Becomes sharp and prickly; 
I smile and nod
And agree too quickly; 
And squirm for the victims 
Slaughtered lightly;
And wish for a sign-board 
To signal brightly
These welcoming words 
To allay my fear: 
Exit, here!" 

Ladies at tea 
Frighten me!


You walked in your drawing-room,
Your gown rustling like autumn leaves; 
Its heavy folds of delicate silk
The colour of apricots.
You might have been the ghost of a great lady, 
Your chin held rather high for one so small;
Or you might have been a frail fantastic figurine 
In cloisonné, that had stepped down for a moment
From a Louis Quinze table.
Or then again, you might have been a princess 
Who had lived most of her life
In a Fairy Tale for children.
Then you would have worn a little cap of pearls, 
And your small enchanted hands
Would have been heavy with emeralds. 

You walked in your drawing-room
In your gown of apricot satin,
And if you had disappeared into a mirror, 
Or stepped back into a picture frame,
I could have believed in you!

Hill-top, Caledon 

No, nor the green hills of Ireland 
Couldn't be lovelier!
Beautiful, are the Caledon hills; 
Green, like moss is green,
And gracious, 
And ever-rolling. 

And the little trees 
That march down the sides of the hills 
Are like trees
Cut from green blotting-paper. 
They stand very straight, 
And not very tall,
And their ranks are beautifully un-thinned. 

And the hordes of silly sheep
Crying, "Baa Baa"
Out of their curious black faces;
And the Scottish cattle with their great horns; 
And the chestnut-and-black horses
Leaning into the wind on the very hill-top; 
All these are part of Caledon.

Coming out of the little ski cabin, 
Under the first few stars
You will say:
"No; nor the green hills of Ireland Couldn't be lovelier!"

You Being Dead (For J. R. T.)

You, being dead, are not aware
That brittle berries strew the ground, 
And how the wind, an unleashed hound 
Prowls through the wood.

It must be very still and deep
Where you have gone; your gentle sleep 
Must be a lovely dreamless thing.
No horns of daybreak reach your rest, 
No muffled drums of midnight breast 
Your dim retreat ... and well I know 
You would not stir, beneath the snow. 

And yet the first lush rain of Spring 
Must speak to you; must dance and sing 
Across your heart, though it be still. 
The scent of hyacinth must fill
The very earth, the birth of grass 
Be like the feet of fauns who pass 
In mocking masque among the trees. 

Though you should walk elysian fields 
I somehow know, that even there
You still must smell the apple trees ... 
Who found the spring so brief and fair!


You know,
If you were only a book
I'd know what to do about you! 
I'd read you ... and remember you ... 
And tuck you away on my book-shelves.

But since you are a bitter sort of magic 
That twists me like a silly skein
To fit your latest picture of me 
What am I to do about you? 

And even if you were a book 
I should love you very dearly, 
And carry you about with me 
In my coat pocket,

Night Garden

Here is a silver star
Caught in the meshes of the moon. 
It matters not.
Soon ... soon ... across the greeny darkness of the garden,
Still and sweet,
I shall hear in the mist of the evening 
Your feet
You are coming to me!
The garden is drowned in a dream. 
Only my heart is awake.
Hurry ... hurry, beloved ... 
Lest it quiver, and break!

Some Quiet Day ... Perhaps

Some quiet day, perhaps, when I am dead, 
And this loud world is but a whispered echo 
Through the dark, cool earth that spreads above my head,
I shall forget that I have ever known you. 
Your kisses shall become inconsequent
As flowers and grass that grow above my grave, 
Our moments shared shall crumble down to dust, 
The ring upon my finger turn to rust.
There shall be nothing to remind me, then, 
I shall know peace, unstirred by pain or song, 
Turning my face to sleep, as children do, 
Never to start awake and cry your name, 
Seeking your arms to shelter me from fear 
As I do now ... this night ... my very Dear!


The young priest
Stood holding a small book in his hands, 
Under a tree
Newly-stripped of its leafage. 
He stood very still ... 
The wind whipping his long robes 
Into swirling darkness.
There behind cloistered walls 
The war was unreal,
A distant dragon 
Whose fiery breath 
Was legend.
Just for a minute 
The world stood still 
Imprisoned in the pages 
Of a small book.
There was healing in the sight, 
The young priest
Reading words set down many centuries ago. 
Oh soon, soon, let there be peace
Over the whole world 
And the young men 
Coming back to their books!

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Tasting the Earth" ***

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