Edmund Blunden

(1 November 1896 – 20 January 1974 / London / England)

A Country God


WHEN groping farms are lanterned up
And stolchy ploughlands hid in grief,
And glimmering byroads catch the drop
That weeps from sprawling twig and leaf,
And heavy-hearted spins the wind
Among the tattered flags of Mirth,—
Then who but I flit to and fro,
With shuddering speech, with mope and mow,
And glass the eyes of Earth?

Then haunting by some moanish brook
Where lank and snaky brambles swim
Or where the hill pines swarthy look
I whirry through the dark and hymn
A dull-voiced dirge and threnody,
An echo of the world's sad drone
That now appals the friendly stars—
O wail for blind brave youth whose wars
Turn happiness to stone.

How rang my cavern-shades of old
To my melodious pipes, and then
My bright-haired bergomask patrolled
Each lawn and plot for laughter's din:
Never a sower flung broad cast,
No hedger brisked nor scythesman swung,
Nor maiden trod the purple press
But I was by to guard and bless
And for their solace sang.

* * * *

But now the sower's hand is writhed
In livid death, the bright rhythm stolen,
The gold grain flatted and unscythed,
The boars in the vineyard gnarled and sullen
Havocking the grapes ; and the eve-jar wind
Spins, and the spattered leaves of the glen
In mockery dance the death-gavotte;
With all my murmurous pipes forgot,
And summer not to come again.

Submitted: Saturday, April 03, 2010

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