Published: The New Masses, March 14, 1939.
Transcribed: Sally Ryan for marxists.org in 2001.
This Spring let the world keep out, we said, alone
Our feet to the path over the woodmint,
The red-tipped moss, and ours the single flower
Lovely under stone.
But here before us the hazel boughs are broken,
The coiled fern flattened by the invader's heel,
The hot spoor on the crushed leaf marking the course
That terror has taken.
When buds split and willow strikes like a whip at the heart,
When the hard fire at earth's core rolls
In green flame against the destroyers
How shall we walk apart?
The defenders too are among us; those who command
The blade of the quick fern, pattern the changing season,
Reshape the leaf and bind the bough
With a healer's hand;
And those who have fallen are with us; they shall inherit
Forever this, Spring when the stars of bloodroot burn,
When light draws from the shadow of running water
The promised violet.