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By Virginia Hamilton Adair

Past the fourth cloverleaf, by dwindling roads   

At last we came into the unleashed wind;

The Chesapeake rose to meet us at a dead end   

Beyond the carnival wheels and gingerbread.


Forsaken by summer, the wharf. The oil-green waves   

Flung yellow foam and sucked at disheveled sand.   

Small fish stank in the sun, and nervous droves   

Of cloud hastened their shadows over bay and land.


Beyond the NO DUMPING sign in its surf of cans   

And the rotting boat with nettles to the rails,   

The horse dung garlanded with jeweling flies   

And papers blown like a fleet of shipless sails,


We pushed into an overworld of wind and light   

Where sky unfettered ran wild from earth to noon,   

And the tethered heart broke loose and rose like a kite   

From sands that borrowed diamonds from the sun.


We were empty and pure as shells that air-drenched hour,   

Heedless as waves that swell at the shore and fall,   

Pliant as sea-grass, the rapt inheritors

Of a land without memory, where tide erases all.


Virginia Hamilton Adair, “Buckroe, After the Season” from Ants on the Melon. Copyright © 1996 by Virginia Hamilton Adair. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

Source: Ants on the Melon: A Collection of Poems (Random House Inc., 1996)

  • Activities
  • Living
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Virginia Hamilton Adair
Although she had written all of her life, Virginia Hamilton Adair didn’t publish her first book until she was 83, by which time glaucoma had left her blind. Ants on the Melon appeared in 1996 to wide acclaim for its playful rhymes, beguiling sense of nostalgia, and the poet’s frank, often humorous take on her blindness. She published two other books before her death: Beliefs and Blasphemies and Living on Fire.

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