African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Anne Spencer, "Life-Long, Poor Browning..." (1927)


LIFE-LONG, poor Browning never knew Virginia,
Or he'd not grieved in Florence for April sallies
Back to English gardens after Euclid's linear:
Clipt yews, Pomander Walks, and pleachéd alleys;

Primroses, prim indeed, in quite ordered hedges,
Waterways, soberly, sedately enchanneled,
No thin riotous blade even among the sedges,
All the wild country-side tamely impaneled ...

Dead, now, dear Browning, lives on in heaven,--
(Heaven's Virginia when the year's at its Spring)
He's haunting the byways of wine-aired leaven
And throating the notes of the wildings on wing;

Here canopied reaches of dogwood and hazel,
Beech tree and redbud fine-laced in vines,
Fleet clapping rills by lush fern and basil,
Drain blue hills to lowlands scented with pines...

Think you he meets in this tender green sweetness
Shade that was Elizabeth ... immortal completeness!

Published in Caroling Dusk1927

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