“One must choose a corner and cultivate that.”
Isabel Archer in The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James


A little plot of ground is all I seek.
Small—smaller than ambition would desire,
With fences made to make me know the fence
That limits me, a little plot of ground.

Some cattle barons seek to move their posts
Still further, stretching spools of barbed wire out.
It’s best for me to practice faithfulness
With smaller stakes. A little plot of ground.

Marauders disregard the poor, the rich.
Defying wire and wall and moat and sign,
Thieves covet anything outside their bounds,
Their heritage, their little plots of ground.

“The grass we seek is greener; join with us!”
It’s best for me to honor barons when
They gain and give to peasants when they lose.
I’ll be content with this: A little plot.

A little plot of ground is all I need.
A sojourner in foreign lands, I till
And cultivate each square foot I receive
By grace, with grace. Say grace. This land’s a gift.

(Spring 2016)