Stephen Vincent Benet


My son has built a fortified house 
To keep his pride from the thunder, 
And his steadfast heart from the gnawing mouse 
That nibbles the roots of wonder. 

My daughter's wit has hammered and filed 
Her slight and glittering armor. 
She hides in its rings like a dragon-child, 
And nothing on earth can harm her. 

My wife has molded a coffin of lead 
From the counterfeit tears of mourners. 
She rests in it, calm as a saint long dead, 
And the Four Winds kneel at its corners. 

I have scooped my den with a crafty thumb 
In the guts of an arid acre. 
And it may not last till Kingdom Come 
But it will not cripple its maker. 

It is six feet long by three feet deep 
And some may call it narrow. 
But, when I get into it, I can keep 
The nakedness of an arrow.