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The following poems are from "Land Of The Yankees".  This book of poetry was published
in 1946 and written by Frederick W. Branch
(Grandfather of the Branch Brothers).


Other Poems
The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
HIGH FLIGHT by J.G. Magee, Jr.
My dog, named Bo by Jimmy Stewart



Black Cat, sleeping in my chair
On your neatly tucked-in paws,
I suppose you're not aware
That, by scientific laws
You, like Manx and Persians, are
Felis L. Domestica.

Independent, smug, aloof.
Tolerating friendliness;
Starting up in cold reproof
When I break the quietness;
Temperamental as a Star:
Felis L. Domestica.

Do you guess it flatters me
When you come to me and beg,
Purr your sing-song melody,
Rub your length against my leg?
These are tricks from lands afar,
Felis L. Domestica.

Jurists say that cats exist
For their owners sole delight,
But you seem to have a tryst
Almost every pleasant night,
Nosing through a door ajar,
Felis L. Domestica.

All you do is prowl and fight,
Come back home to eat, and then
Sleep until another night
Starts you on your rounds again;
Dissolute as some old Shah:
Felis L. Domestica.

Black Cat, you may keep my chair,
You shall have your milk and meat;
I just like to see you there,
Watch you stalk across the street,
Proud of every scratch and scar,
Felis L. Domestica.


If he can come back bringing
No scars of wounds or pain,
But strong and happy, singing
Along the meadow lane:
The sorrow of our parting,
The loneliness that came,
The tears forever starting
At mention of his name,
Will end as dreary memories
For coming days to dim,
When down by those old elm trees
I first catch sight of him.

But if no day comes bringing
That figure lithe and trim,
Through all the years, slow-swinging,
I’ll keep this place for him:
The orchard that he planted,
The fields aslant the hill,
The woods in Fall, enchanted,
The house so strangely still.
For though my eyes may never
Light as he sings his songs,
His spirit will forever
Be here where it belongs.

Here is no trained or conscious artistry
But music such as golden robins sing,
Sweet as the water from a quiet spring,
Gift of the gods to boyhoods ecstacy.
Gift of the gods to those who hear his song
although they find their eyes are wet with tears
Yet feel no wish to close their listening ears,
Knowing such glory cannot last for long.

Gift of the gods, no sooner come than gone:
Like full-blown poppies or a sky at dawn,
The flight of swallows over meadow grass,
Or snowflake patterns on a window glass:
Transient perfection which we cannot hold
One moment longer than the gods have told.

You ask me why I never write
Of love that smiles through tears,
Of truth and beauty and the might
Of faith that laughs at fears;
And why, instead of these, I write
Of floods and fields and walls,
Of trees and trains, and eyes that light
When Spring’s first robin calls.

There’s beauty in a bridge’s flight
And courage in a train;
There’s faith in orchards blossomed white
And truth where cables strain.
Why do I never catch the beat
Of love that smiles and sings?
Perhaps my soul has dusty feet
Instead of soaring wings.

They are such brave and faithful things,
The lilacs of New England;
They’ve waited for so many Springs,
The lilacs of New England.

By doorsteps where no houses are -
Each cellar but a weed-grown scar -
They keep the faith, and every year
They bloom again when May is here.

To us whose roots are strong and deep
Here where our forbears lie asleep,
The fragrance of the lilacs comes:
Heart-stirring as the roll of drums.

They are like old friends; like us they know
The bitter days of drifting snow;
And so we wait for them to bring
Their confirmation of the Spring

The man who built this house of mine
A hundred years ago,
With Christian doors of smooth, clear pine
And chestnut timbers, row on row,
Whose oxen hauled the bricks and lime,
Who squared the hearth’s broad stone,
Could not foresee that Fate and Time
Would someday make it all my own.

He must have known that it would stay,
Here, on its sturdy sills,
Long after his last Spring should lay
Her fragrant mornings on the hills:
So, even if he didn’t know
Just who its owners were to be,
I’ll still maintain that, years ago,
He planned and built this house for me.


The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –
It gives a lovely light!

Oh!  I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on
laughter-silvered wings:
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds -
And done a hundred things you have not dreamed of -
Wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.  Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung my eager craft through
footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew;
And while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

My dog, named Bo
He came to me when I would call,
unless I had a tennis ball
-or he felt like it.
But mostly--he didn't come at all.
When he was young,
he never learned,
to heel, or sit or stay,
he did things his way.
Discipline was not his bag,
but when you were with him,
things sure didn't drag.
He'd dig up a rose bush just to spite me,
and when I'd grab 'im he'd turn and bite me.
He bit lots of folks from day to day,
the deliv'ry boy was his favorite prey.
The gas man wouldn't read our meter,
he said we owned a real man-eater.
He sat the house on fire,
but the story's long to tell.
Suffice to say that he survived,
and, the house survived as well.
And on evening walks
(and Gloria took him),
he was always first out the door.
The old one and I,
brought up the rear
because our bones were sore.
And he'd charge up the street
with Mom hangin' on,
what a beautiful pair they were.
And if it was still light,
and the tourists were out,
they created a bit of a stir!
But every once in awhile
he'd stop in his tracks
and with a frown on his face, look around.
It was just t'make sure,
that the old one was there,
to follow him where he was bound.
We're early-to-bedders in our house
I guess I'm the first to retire,
and as I'd leave the room, he'd look at me
and get up from his place by the fire.
He knew where the tennis balls were, upstairs
and I'd give 'im one for awhile
and he'd push it under the bed with his nose
and I'd dig it out with a smile.
But before very long, he'd tire of the ball
and he'd be asleep in his corner in no time at all,
and there where nights when I'd feel him climb up on our bed
and lie between us, and I'd pat his head;
and there were nights when I'd feel this stare,
and I'd wake up and he'd be sitting there
and I'd reach out to stroke his hair;
and sometimes I'd feel him sigh,
and I think I know the reason why.
He'd wake up at night,
and he would have this fear
of the dark, of life, of lot's of things,
and he'd be glad to have me near.
And now he's dead.
And there are nights when I think I feel him
climb up on our bed,
and lie between us, and I pat his head;
and there are nights when I think I feel that stare,
and I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,
and he's not there.
Oh, how I wish that wasn't so,
I'll always love a dog named Bo.