Virgin Mother

                          Now to her lap the incestuous earth
                                    The son she bore has ta'en,
                         And other sons she brings to birth
                                   But not my friend again.
                                                         -A.E. Housman

The ancient plowman fell just as he plowed.
His great heart fluttered in the corn row where he lay.
The ox he drove so straight stood dumbly, cowed.
He smelled the loam and leaf meal, the decay.

On either side black furrows he had made
Rose to embower him there and hover,
By dark earth, where he shortly would be laid,
Caressed...or mocked...by an indifferent lover.

And as he died, he thought he saw his field
Adance with daisies wild and gay, untared,
No corn rows now, but flowered again and healed,
Wholly without him now, wholly repaired.

Poppy and violet rioting unbladed,
He saw the end of all his will had dared.
His riven heart faltered then and faded.
He saw at last she never had been shared!

The earth slit to receive him and then closed,
Swift mother that cannot be refused.
Among the flowers no slit remained exposed,
Strange harlot-love that cannot be seduced.