DEATH AT THE PURPLE RIM
This beast I killed lived under a stone wall,
And every day he came to sun himself
On the warm rocks, in the pleasant afternoon,
I worked in the garden and the earth was rich,
Clinging to hoe and heel, as gold, alas,
Clung not to hand. And pausing, I looked
At the motionless elm and the hawk winging afar
In the sunlit air, and the butterfly's trembling wing,
This was a little valley all to myself
In Connecticut's northern hills: Cornwall was there;
Warren to westward: Waramaug Lake to the south;
And the great Gehenna sufficient six-score leagues—
As the sensible crow flies not—with its million men,
Grasping for food without tilling, or planting, or reaping:
For meat without killing—but killing lawfully, subtly,
On counter and desk and in ledger, each one his neighbor;
And the prisons shrugging arrogant shoulders skyward,
Prouder and taller than trees, and with lesser right—
Their naked forms to sunlight flaunting, and starlight,
Or luckless angel whose glance might be low and earthy.
And I in my garden the hub of a spinning planet.
I saw the motionless elm and the stately hawkflight,
And the green grass, and through it the greener pathway
Where the sweet brook hid (for so it must be forever,
Though felons scour the earth with head held proudly).
I saw the butterfly poised on a pebble; the fence
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