If we wished to be meticulous we would suggest to Ella Wheeler Wilcox that one does not exactly "hurl" a spade into the ground. One places the foot on it gently but firmly and presses it down vigorously but not explosively. But maybe Mrs. Wilcox has her own way of spading as well as of writing poetry. Be that as it may, this from the N. Y. American is well worth while:
Seeing my garden running all amuck
And weeds evicting flowers from their home,
Into the root-bound soil my spare I struck
To bring out strength and beauty from the loam;
To bring from chaos order, and to right
The wrongs that had grown boastful in their might.
Then suddenly I saw a world in arms--
A world of busy ants whose citadel
My spade had overthrown. Oh, what alarms--
What wild, pathetic efforts to expel
The base intruder from their dear domain--
What consternation! What despair and pain!
My heart went out to them; I knew their grief,
I knew how base, how cruel and unkind
Must seem my spade--a vandal and a thief.
Who, without cause, their city undermined.
Their homes destroyed, their cunning, patient toil,
Flung down beneath the debris of the soil.
Perchance from their ant-souls wild prayers arose
For mercy or for vengeance. But intent
Upon the beauty of my garden close
I did not hear them if such prayers were sent.
The place must be made over for the bee
And butterfly, and for the joy of me.
I could not leave the ant-hills unmolested--
I could not save the insects from their fate
However much they prayed or they protested;
The spring was here, the garden could not wait!
Its future meant new beauty in the world;
Again my spade into the sod was hurled.
When dreadful war or eathquake shock or flood
Or tidal wave destroys what man has made,
May not the purpose be for larger good,
Tho continents go down before the spade?
The ant in some new form will live again,
And find a fairer world--and so will men.
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Current Opinion 63 (Dec. 1917): 417.
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