The Great War

from Poems, an electronic edition


EVE, with her basket, was

Deep in the bells and grass,

Wading in bells and grass

Up to her knees,

Picking a dish of sweet

Berries and plums to eat,

Down in the bells and grass

Under the trees.

Mute as a mouse in a

Corner the cobra lay,

Curled round a bough of the

Cinnamon tall. . . .

Now to get even and

Humble proud heaven and

Now was the moment or

Never at all.

Eva!" Each syllable

Light as a flower fell,

"Eva!" he whispered the

Wondering maid,

Soft as a bubble sung

Out of a linnet's lung,

Soft and most silverly

"Eva!" he said.

Picture that orchard sprite,

Eve, with her body white,

Supple and smooth to her

Slim finger tips,

Wondering, listening,

Listening, wondering,

Eve with a berry

Half-way to her lips.

Oh had our simple Eve

Seen through the make-believe!

Had she but known the

Pretender he was!

Out of the boughs he came,

Whispering still her name,

Tumbling in twenty rings

Into the grass.

Here was the strangest pair

In the world anywhere,

Eve in the bells and grass

Kneeling, and he

Telling his story low. . . .

Singing birds saw them go

Down the dark path to

The Blasphemous Tree.

Oh what a clatter when

Titmouse and Jenny Wren

Saw him successful and

Taking his leave!

How the birds rated him,

How they all hated him!

How they all pitied

Poor motherless Eve!

Picture her crying

Outside in the lane,

Eve, with no dish of sweet

Berries and plums to eat,

Haunting the gate of the

Orchard in vain. . . .

Picture the lewd delight

Under the hill to-night--

"Eva!" the toast goes round,

"Eva!" again.