Spring 1985, Volume 2
Poetry

Sherwin W. Howard
Anna Elizabeth Morris First Wife

I watch you from my hill.
See your ploughing, planting, hatching
Hear your scruffy children whining
Feel the heat of August dryness
Watch your curtains light at supper
Drink the edge of night's despising.

Know that I am wind to your eagles
Mother of your bastard dreamings.
My house is highest on this hill!

I was match for Ebeneezer
Working side by weary side
Scratching cold New England clearings
Eking daughters from our planting
Watching modest harvest dwindle
Holding crying, dying children
Through the hungry red-stove winters
Burying in thawing April
Joyless ploughing fields again.

Then George Davis, farm adjoining,
Brought "The Book" to Ebeneezer
Breathing magic while we listened
Calming fears with soothing scripture
Raising dreams of future harvest
Sharing martyred prophet's vision:
Second fields could take the plow

If first agree to hold the trace.
Hawks circle high above my hill, riding empty dreams
Bright flashings down that sieze a rabbit sleeping
Then rise on desert summer's heat to haunt again.


Soaring Ebeneezer, high flown
Feathered with dreams of godliness
Too quickly found a second plot
And words to ask for my consent.

Poor Ebeneezer, hating sin
Yet pleasuring before the world
I despised his holy lusting then
As I abhored my quiet tears.

Where were the screams of falcons then?
The cries of righteous innocence?
The mighty Jahweh's thunderbolts
That cursed a nation when
Naive children gilded a calf
And danced their simple dance?

My duty plain as it was painful
I gave consent to Ebeneezer
Wise, polyg'mous Ebeneezer
But wrung his promise that my home
Would be the highest on the hill.

Here I watch his would-be godlings
Breath the years of summer dryness
Count the quiet tears of winter
Sometimes hold his youngest children
Wingless in their flight to glory
Recall the long ago of silence
Try to play the plays of childhood.

Know that I am wind to your eagles
Mother of your bastard dreamings.
My house was and will be first.