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A Poem for Dumbarton Oaks during Wartime

Posted On June 15, 2017 | 14:05 pm | by Dumbarton Oaks Archives | Permalink

Katsura tree at Dumbarton Oaks, autumn foliage.

This poem was published in the Washington, D.C., newspaper the Evening Star on September 21, 1942.


Dumbarton Oaks

Anna M. Priestley (1883–1967)


“Could Eden have been lovelier than this?”

A woman asked who wandered at my side

Through these vast grounds that once were one man’s pride,

Whose home was in this stately edifice.

This is an Eden with no serpent’s hiss,

No flaming sword by which men are denied

Entrance through gates, hospitably set wide,

That art and nature’s union none may miss.


We may not lose our faith in humankind

While through the generosity of men

Such beauty spots as this invite the soul.

The world will not continue to be blind;

The flowers of hope and love will bloom again

When a torn earth has once more been made whole.