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FORD, Madox Ford

On Heaven

THAT day the sunlight lay on the farms,

On the morrow the bitter frost that there was!

That night my young love lay in my arms,

The morrow how bitter it was!

And because she is very tall and quaint

And golden, like a quattrocento saint,

I desire to write about Heaven;

To tell you the shape and the ways of it,

And the joys and the toil and the maze of it,

For these there must be in Heaven,

Even in Heaven!

For God is a good man, God is a kind man,

And God’s a good brother, and God is no blind man,

And God is our father.

I will tell you how this thing began:

How I waited in a little town near Lyons many years,

And yet knew nothing of passing time, or of her tears,

But, for nine slow years, lounged away at my table in the shadowy sunlit square

Where the small cafés are.

The Place is small and shaded by great planes,

Over a rather human monument

Set up to Louis Dixhuit in the year

Eighteen fourteen; a funny thing with dolphins

About a pyramid of green-dripped, sordid stone.

But the enormous, monumental planes

Shade it all in, and in the flecks of sun

Sit market women. There’s a paper shop

Painted all blue, a shipping agency,

Three or four cafés; dank, dark colonnades

Of an eighteen-forty Mairie. I’d no wish

To wait for her where it was picturesque,

Or ancient or historic, or to love

Over well any place in the land before she came

And loved it too. I didn’t even go

To Lyons for the opera; Arles for the bulls,

Or Avignon for glimpses of the Rhone.

Not even to Beaucaire! I sat about

And played long games of dominoes with the maire,

Or passing commis-voyageurs. And so

I sat and watched the trams come in, and read

The Libre Parole and sipped the thin, fresh wine

They call Piquette, and got to know the people,

The kind, southern people