Purdy refers to the country north of Belleville as “the country of defeat.” Who is defeated there? By what?
He says that the young leave the country quickly, “unwilling to know what their fathers know / or think the words their mothers do not say-” What do their fathers know? What is it that their mothers do not say?
The end of the poem suggests that returning visitors will not find friends, or even remembered townships in this country. Why do you think they would go back there?