Swerving east, from rich industrial shadows
And traffic all night north; swerving through fields
Too thin and thistled to be called meadows,
And now and then a harsh-named halt, that shields
Workmen at dawn; swerving to solitude
Of skies and scarecrows, haystacks, hares and pheasants,
And the widening river s slow presence,
The piled gold clouds, the shining gull-marked mud,
Gathers to the surprise of a large town:
Here domes and statues, spires and cranes cluster
Beside grain-scattered streets, barge-crowded water,
And residents from raw estates, brought down
The dead straight miles by stealing flat-faced trolleys,
Push through plate-glass swing doors to their desires—
Cheap suits, red kitchen-ware, sharp shoes, iced lollies,
Electric mixers, toasters, washers, driers—
A cut-price crowd, urban yet simple, dwelling
Where only salesmen and relations come
Within a terminate and fishy-smelling
Pastoral of ships up streets, the slave museum,
Tattoo-shops, consulates, grim head-scarfed wives;
And out beyond its mortgaged half-built edges
Fast-shadowed wheat-fields, running high as hedges,
Isolate villages, where removed lives
Loneliness clarifies. Here silence stands
Like heat. Here leaves unnoticed thicken,
Hidden weeds flower, neglected waters quicken,
Luminously-peopled air ascends;
And past the poppies bluish neutral distance
Ends the land suddenly beyond a beach
Of shapes and shingle. Here is unfenced existence:
Facing the sun, untalkative, out of reach.
An Arundel Tomb
Side by side, their faces
Their proper habits vaguely shown
And that faint hint of the absurd -
Hardly involves the eye, until
Clasped empty in the other; and
One sees, with a sharp tender shock,
Such faithfulness in effigy
Was just a detail friends would see:
A sculptor's sweet commissioned grace
The Latin names around the base.
They would not guess how early in
The air would change to soundless damage,
How soon succeeding eyes begin
Of time. Snow fell, undated. Light
Each summer thronged the glass. A bright
Litter of birdcalls strewed the same
Bone-riddled ground. And up the paths
Now, helpless in the hollow of
An unarmorial age, a trough
Above their scrap of history,
Only an attitude remains:
Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. The stone fidelity
They hardly meant has come to be
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
Zoals iets dat niet helemaal wordt uitgesproken;
De jonge knoppen worden week en zijn gebroken,
Hun groenheid is een soort verdriet.
En worden wij oud? Nee, ook zij vergaan.
Hun jaarlijkse kunst in het nieuw te staan
Staat gekerfd in generfde ringen.
In mei met een weelderig, volgroeid gebaar.
Ze zeggen schijnbaar “Dood is het oude jaar,
Begin opnieuw, begin weer van tevoren”.
Come then to prayers
Come then to prayers
And kneel upon the stone,
For we have tried
All courages on these despairs,
And are required lastly to give up pride,
And the last difficult pride in being humble.
Draw down the window-frame
That we may be unparted from the darkness
Inviting to the house
Air from a field, air from a salt grave,
That questions if we have
Concealed no flaw in this confessional,
And, being satisfied,
Lingers, and troubles, and is lightless,
And so grows darker, as if clapped on a flame,
Whose great extinguishing still makes it tremble.
Only our hearts go beating towards the east.
Out of this darkness, let the unmeasured sword
Rising from sleep to execute our crown
Rest on our shoulders, as we then can rest
On the outdistancing, all-capable flood
Whose brim touches the morning. Down
The long shadows where undriven the dawn
Hunts light into nobility,
arouse us noble.
Why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life?
Can't I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off?
Six days of the week it soils
With its sickening poison -
Just for paying a few bills!
That's out of proportion.
Lots of folk live on their wits:
Losels, loblolly-men, louts-
They don't end as paupers;
Lots of folk live up lanes
With fires in a bucket,
Eat windfalls and tinned sardines-
they seem to like it.
Their nippers have got bare feet,
Their unspeakable wives
Are skinny as whippets - and yet
No one actually starves.
Ah, were I courageous enough
To shout Stuff your pension!
But I know, all too well, that's the stuff
That dreams are made on:
For something sufficiently toad-like
Squats in me, too;
Its hunkers are heavy as hard luck,
And cold as snow,
And will never allow me to blarney
My way of getting
The fame and the girl and the money
All at one sitting.
I don't say, one bodies the other
One's spiritual truth;
But I do say it's hard to lose either,
When you have both.