The Trespasser

By Ben Belitt 1911–2003 Ben Belitt
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,
Companionless, disquieted,
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)

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Poet Ben Belitt 1911–2003

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Nature, Trees & Flowers, Landscapes & Pastorals

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Ben  Belitt


Poet, translator, and professor Ben Belitt was born in New York City in 1911. He earned degrees from the University of Virginia and taught for many years at Bennington College in Vermont. Sometimes described as one of the neglected masters of 20th century American poetry, Belitt taught and influenced poets such as Susan Wheeler, Reginald Shepherd, and Lynn Emanuel while at Bennington. Susan Wheeler has described Belitt’s . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Trees & Flowers, Landscapes & Pastorals

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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