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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Poppies in the Wheat

By Helen Hunt Jackson (1830–1885)

ALONG Ancona’s hills the shimmering heat,

A tropic tide of air with ebb and flow,

Bathes all the fields of wheat until they glow

Like flashing seas of green, which toss and beat

Around the vines. The poppies lithe and fleet

Seem running, fiery torchmen, to and fro

To mark the shore.
The farmer does not know

That they are there. He walks with heavy feet,

Counting the bread and wine by autumn’s gain;

But I—I smile to think that days remain

Perhaps to me in which, though bread be sweet

No more, and red wine warm my blood in vain,

I shall be glad, remembering how the fleet

Lithe poppies ran like torchmen with the wheat.