Today I read your verses, and I wept.
Your loss, transcending centuries, has torched
a hole in my self-pity, scattered ash
across four hundred years, and scorched
my martyrdom into the oak-slat floor.
The sad account of how your house burned down,
your passing of the ruins every day.
Each broken brick of future, smudged and brown.
And now I know the leaving of my home
cannot compare. The maple gum and oak
will always weave through bougainvillea blooms,
a mourning dove will flutter in her cloak
of spring magnolia leaves. The window seat
and lattice will remain. My children played
their games with our old dog along this hedge.
And still, I read the words your hand has laid
across the page, that all is vanity.
I hear the crackle of your faith renew.
And realize you never asked for more
than hope in Him who hath enough to do.
If you would like to read “Verses upon the Burning of our House, July 18th, 1866,” by Anne Bradstreet, go here.