When last we came this pleasant way
The hedgerows blossomed, high and hard,
And blue with shade the violets lay
In every cherry-lightened yard.
Now, in commemorative rain,
I walk the quiet way alone,
And there are violets again
As blue as I have ever known.
Useless to barricade the flesh
To splendid branch and flower-row:
I see the cherry, flaked and fresh,
And smell the violet as I go
Perplexed past wetted flowerbed
And boxwood glimmering into leaf,
And fearfully as any thief—
Smarting of some sacrilege
Too profligate to understand,
As one who disavows a pledge
And treads repudiated land.
Ben Belitt, “The Trespasser” from The Five-Fold Mesh (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1938). Used by permission of the Estate of Ben Belitt.
Source: This Scribe My Hand: The Complete Poems of Ben Belitt
(Louisiana State University Press, 1998)