Yes, I have been lonely, angry here,

Lonely on the suffocating walks under the trees

Where faces cross and recross bright with sweat,

And damp hands clutch the books unmarked by love.

Intricate and empty this crisscross movement

Through the green, through the bird song

As if it were a dance but with no meaning,

And I, the stranger, often lit up by anger,

Waiting for someone to ask the simple question,

"Why have you come and who are you, stranger?"

And to say gladly, "Nothing but a voice,

Nothing but an angry joy, a protestation,

Nothing, a gift of nothing on the desolate air--"

Here in the center of America

Steeped deep in the tiger-lily June

Where the iced blue Hydrangea

Cuts the air like a tune

Here where the parched bird is still at noon,

Here in the center of America where it is always noon,

On the secure sidewalks of the typical town,

I go alone and a stranger, a haunted walker,

Full of self-questioning and wonder,

Waiting for the speech, for the word

To break the tension like a clap of thunder,

"How can the books be broken to yield the dynamic answer,

And we embody thought in living as does the dance, the dancer?"


May Sarton