In a Tobacco Field

Julia Stockton Dinsmore

The serried ranks with morning's radiance shine,
The lush tobacco laps from row to row
In this fair field, where toil and soil combine
To show what rich results from union grow.

The poor man's crop that children help to tend
And "early birds" like him, with lither grace
O'er dewy leaves and sticky suckers bend,
Lightening their toil with pleasures of the chase,

For here in verdant haunts too well-concealed
The crawling freebooters in ambush lie,
Forage and ravage the contested field,
Eat and are merry and to-morrow die.

Work is the wizard that the world enchants,
And beauty owns his power here to-day,
So think I, seeing down long lines of plants
The lift of leaves that summer breezes sway.

Some, tall and queenly rear their flower-crowned stems
In lovely matronhood — the chosen fair
That in their emerald-chaliced diadems
The promise of the future proudly bear.

But most are those whose blooms will never blow
That turn to other's joy their silent grief,
Virginal stems, that gather as they grow
The lost bud's sweetness in the yellow leaf.