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Annie Adams Fields

(1834-1915 / USA)

The Coronal


TWINE the wild olive, twine!
And hasten, maidens, while the dayspring calls,
For when the sun is high
The leaflet droops and falls.

Now the dark hollow seek,
And hide the finished wreath in green recess,
And droop not, olive leaves,
Nor lose your comeliness.

Hear ye a people's feet
Come trampling up the steep of Athens' hill?
They bear a sacred gift;
At last the air is still.

Behold the white-robed band,
Holding the mightiest tribute Greece can give, --
A little fading wreath!
The deed with Zeus shall live.

What needs he other gift,
The hero, with his living torch aflame,
Held high until the hour
The godhead gild his name!

No dusty sign for him,
No flaunting pile to quicken Fortune's wheel!
Only Demeter's leaf
And tears that downward steal.

Haste! haste! bring olive!
A people's tribute for the people's hour!
The gods themselves decree
To give the immortal dower.

Submitted: Tuesday, October 19, 2010
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