The Great War

from A Crown of Amaranth, an electronic edition

The English Graves.

THE rains of yesterday are flown,

And light is on the farthest hills.

The homeliest rough grass by the stone

With radiance thrills;

And the wet bank above the ditch,

Trailing its thorny bramble, shows

Soft apparitions, clustered rich,

Of the pale primrose.

The shining stillness breathes, vibrates

From simple earth to lonely sky,

A hinted wonder that awaits

The heart's reply.

O lovely life! the chaffinch sings

High on the hazel, near and clear.

Sharp to the heart's blood sweetness springs

In the morning here.

But my heart goes with the young cloud

Which voyages the April light

Southward, across the beaches loud

And cliffs of white

To fields of France, far fields that spread

Beyond the tumbling of the waves,

And touches, as with shadowy tread,

The English graves.

There, too, is Earth that never weeps,

The unrepining Earth, that holds

The secret of a thousand sleeps,

And there unfolds

Flowers of sweet ignorance on the slope

Where strong arms dropped and blood choked

breath;

Earth, that forgets all things but hope

And smiles on death. .

They poured their spirits out in pride;

They throbbed away the price of years;

Now that dear ground is glorified

With dreams, with tears.

A flower there is sown, to bud

And bloom beyond our loss and smart.

Noble France, at its root is blood

From Our England's heart.

(The Spectator>, June 26th, 1915