A Mile of lane, hedged high with iron-weeds
And dying daisies, white with sun, that leads
Downward into a wood; through which a stream
Steals like a shadow; over which is laid
A bridge of logs, worn deep by many a team,
Sunk in the tangled shade.
Far off a wood-dove lifts its lonely cry;
And in the sleepy silver of the sky
A gray hawk wheels scarce larger than a hand.
From point to point the road grows worse and worse,
Until that place is reached where all the land
Seems burdened with some curse.
A ragged fence of pickets, warped and sprung,
On which the fragments of a gate are hung,
Divides a hill, the fox and ground-hog haunt,
A wilderness of briers; o'er whose tops
A battered barn is seen, low-roofed and gaunt,
'Mid fields that know no crops.
Fields over which a path, o'erwhelmed with burs
And ragweeds, noisy with the grasshoppers,
Leads, lost, irresolute as paths the cows
Wear through the woods, unto a woodshed; then,
With wrecks of windows, to a huddled house,
Where men have murdered men.
A house, whose tottering chimney, clay and rock,
Is seamed and crannied; whose lame door and lock
Are bullet-bored; around which, there and here,
Are sinister stains. One dreads to look around.
The place seems thinking of that time of fear
And dares not breathe a sound.
Within is emptiness: the sunlight falls
On faded journals papering its walls;
On advertisement chromos, torn with time,
Around a hearth where wasps and spiders build.
The house is dead; meseems that night of crime
It, too, was shot and killed.