In Flanders - Ivor Gurney
POETRY FROM THE HEART...
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ENGLISH WORLD WAR I POETRY -
The longing for home from the Flanders Trenches
The unimaginable hour
That folds away our joys and pain
Holds not the spirit in its power.
Therefore I shall come home again
(Wherever my poor body lies),
To whisper in the summer trees
Upon a lazy fall and rise
Of wind: and in day's red decline
Walk with the sun those roads of mine,
Then rosy with my memories.
Though you may see me not, yet
My laughter in the laughing streams,
My footsteps in the running rain...
For sake of all I counted dear
And visit still within my dreams
I shall at last come home again.
F.W. Harvey )
What Things I have missed today, I
know very well,
But the seeing of them each new time is miracle.
Nothing between Bredon and Dursley has
Any day yesterday's precise unprasèd grace.
The changed light, or curve changed mistily,
Coppice, now bold cut, yesterday's mystery.
A sense of mornings, once seen, for ever gone,
Its own for ever: alive, dead, and my possession.
Ivor Gurney )
I saw the orchards whitening
To Easter in late lent.
Now struck of hell's own lightning
With branches broken and bent
Behold the tall trees rent: -
Beaten with iron rain!
And ever in my brain
To every shell that's sent
Sounds back this small refrain: -
"You foolish shells, come kill me,
Blacken my limbs with flame:
I saw the English orchards
(And so may die content)
All white before I came".
F.W. Harvey, 1916 )
THE TOUCHSTONE - WATCHING MALVERN
What Malvern is the day is, and
Grey velvet, or moon-marked; rich, or bare as bone;
One looks towards Malvern and is made one with the whole;
The world swings round him as the Bear to the Pole.
Men have crossed seas to know how
That as music has rapt them in the mere street,
While none or few care how the curved giants stand,
( Those upheaved strenghts! ) on the meadow and plough-land
Ivor Gurney )
I'm homesick for my hills again!
My hills again!
To see above the Severn plain
Unscabbarded against the sky
The blue high blade of Cotswold lie,
And giant clouds go royally
By Jagged Malvern with a train
of shadows. Where the land is low,
Like a huge imprisoning O;
I hear a heart that's sound and high,
I hear the heart within me cry
'I'm homesick for my hills again,
My hills again!
Cotswold or Malvern, sun or rain, My hills again.'
( F.W. Harvey, 1915 )
Under the after-sunset sky
Two pewits sport and cry,
More white than is the moon on high
Riding the dark surge silently;
More black than earth. Their cry
Is the one sound under the sky.
They alone move, now low, now high,
And merrily they cry
to the mischievous Spring sky,
Plunging earthward, tossing high,
Over the ghost who wonders why
So merrily they cry and fly,
Nor choose 'twixt earth and sky,
While the moon's quarter silently
Rides, and earth rests as silently.
( Edward Thomas, 1878 - 1917, killed at Arras on Easter Monday )
The flowers left thick at
nightfall in the wood
This Eastertide call into mind the men,
Now far from home, with their sweethearts, should
Have gathered them and will do never again.
Edward Thomas, Easter 1915 )
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Rolf Jordan, © 2003