Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn
Biography of Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn
Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn (February 4, 1876 – April 4, 1959) was a poet associated with the American Naturalist literary movement. Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Cleghorn spent much of her early childhood in Minnesota and Wisconsin before moving to Vermont at age 9 after the death of her mother. She remained there for the majority of her life until her death in Philadelphia in 1959.
Cleghorn's poetry is largely didactic in nature, serving to illustrate Christian Socialist values and progressive political and social principles. Her most widely known poem "The Golf Links" is an ironic and satirical look at child labor. Her first volume of poetry, Portraits and Protests was published in 1917 and her second, Peace and Freedom in 1945. Her autobiography, published in 1936, was prefaced with an introduction by Robert Frost.
Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn Poems
The Golf Links
The golf links lie so near the mill That almost every day
Spring In Vermont
A flash of hail and snow Drives through the mountains gray And sweeps the plain below, And beats the fragile windflower down;
A Saint's Hours
In the still cold before the sun (Her Matins) Her brothers and her sisters small She woke, and washed and dressed each one.
The Mother Follows
She follows the children out to play, And calls and clutches when they stray The hideous, nameless house too near, Or in the bright saloon would peer.
I saw a sickly cellar plant Droop on its feeble stem, for want Of sun and wind and rain and dew — Of freedom! — Then a man came through
By orange grove and palm-tree, we walked the southern shore, Each day more still and golden than was the day before. That calm and languid sunshine! How faint it made us grow To look on Hemlock Mountain when the storm hangs low!
Thanks to St. Matthew, who had been At mass-meetings in Palestine, We knew whose side was spoken for When Comrade Jesus had the floor.
By orange grove and palm-tree, we walked the southern shore,
Each day more still and golden than was the day before.
That calm and languid sunshine! How faint it made us grow
To look on Hemlock Mountain when the storm hangs low!
To see its rocky pastures, its sparse but hardy corn,
The mist roll off its forehead before a harvest morn;
To hear the pine-trees crashing across its gulfs of snow
Upon a roaring midnight when the whirlwinds blow.