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The West Wind

It’s a warm wind, the west wind, full of birds' cries;

I never hear the west wind but tears are in my eyes.

For it comes from the west lands, the old brown hills.

And April's in the west wind, and daffodils.

It's a fine land, the west land, for hearts as tired as mine,

Apple orchards blossom there, and the air's like wine.

There is cool green grass there, where men may lie at rest,

And the thrushes are in song there, fluting from the nest.

"Will ye not come home, brother? ye have been long away,

It's April, and blossom time, and white is the May;

And bright is the sun, brother, and warm is the rain,--

Will ye not come home, brother, home to us again?

"The young corn is green, brother, where the rabbits run.

It's blue sky, and white clouds, and warm rain and sun.

It's song to a man's soul, brother, fire to a man's brain,

To hear the wild bees and see the merry spring again.

"Larks are singing in the west, brother, above the green wheat,

So will ye not come home, brother, and rest your tired feet?

I've a balm for bruised hearts, brother, sleep for aching eyes,"

Says the warm wind, the west wind, full of birds' cries.

It's the white road westwards is the road I must tread

To the green grass, the cool grass, and rest for heart and head,

To the violets, and the warm hearts, and the thrushes' song,

In the fine land, the west land, the land where I belong.

Laugh and Be Merry

Laugh and be merry, remember, better the world with a song,

Better the world with a blow in the teeth of a wrong.

Laugh, for the time is brief, a thread the length of a span.

Laugh and be proud to belong to the old proud pageant of man.

Laugh and be merry: remember, in olden time.

God made Heaven and Earth for joy He took in a rhyme,

Made them, and filled them full with the strong red wine of His mirth

The splendid joy of the stars: the joy of the earth.

So we must laugh and drink from the deep blue cup of the sky,

Join the jubilant song of the great stars sweeping by,

Laugh, and battle, and work, and drink of the wine outpoured

In the dear green earth, the sign of the joy of the Lord.

Laugh and be merry together, like brothers akin,

Guesting awhile in the rooms of a beautiful inn,

Glad till the dancing stops, and the lilt of the music ends.

Laugh till the game is played; and be you merry, my friends

Seven Poems V

Roses are beauty, but I never see

Those blood drops from the burning heart of June

Glowing like thought upon the living tree

Without a pity that they die so soon,

Die into petals, like those roses old,

Those women, who were summer in men's hearts

Before the smile upon the Sphinx was cold

Or sand had hid the Syrian and his arts.

O myriad dust of beauty that lies thick

Under our feet that not a single grain

But stirred and moved in beauty and was quick

For one brief moon and died nor lived again;

But when the moon rose lay upon the grass

Pasture to living beauty, life that was.


Is it a sea on which the souls embark

Out of the body, as men put to sea?

Or do we come like candles in the dark

In the rooms in cities in eternity?

Is it a darkness that our powers can light?

Is this, our little lantern of man's love,

A help to find friends wandering in the night

In the unknown country with no star above?

Or is it sleep, unknowing, outlasting clocks

That outlast men, that, though the cockcrow ring,

Is but one peace, of the substance of the rocks,

Is but one space in the now unquickened thing,

Is but one joy, that, though the million tire,

Is one, always the same, one life, one fire?

XLVII / The Blind Planet

Let that which is to come be as it may,

Darkness, extinction, justice, life intense,

The flies are happy in the summer day,

Flies will be happy many summers hence.

Time with his antique breeds that built the Sphinx,

Time with her men to come whose wings will tower,

Poured and will pour, not as the wise man thinks,

But with blind force, to each his little hour.

And when the hour has struck, comes death or change,

Which, whether good or ill we cannot tell,

But the blind planet will wander through her range

Bearing men like us who will serve as well.

The sun will rise, the winds that ever move

Will blow our dust that once were men in love.

All Ye That Pass By

On the long dusty ribbon of the long city street,

The pageant of life is passing me on multitudinous feet,

With a word here of the hills, and a song there of the sea

And—the great movement changes—the pageant passes me.

Faces—passionate faces—of men I may not know,

They haunt me, burn me to the heart, as I turn aside to go:

The king's face and the cur's face, and the face of the stuffed swine,

They are passing, they are passing, their eyes look into mine.

I never can tire of the music of the noise of many feet,

The thrill of the blood pulsing, the tick of the heart's beat,

Of the men many as sands, of the squadrons ranked and massed

Who are passing, changing always, and never have changed or passed.


I have seen dawn and sunset on moors and windy hills

Coming in solemn beauty like slow old tunes of Spain:

I have seen the lady April bringing the daffodils,

Bringing the springing grass and the soft warm April rain.

I have heard the song of the blossoms and the old chant of the sea,

And seen strange lands from under the arched white sails of ships;

But the loveliest things of beauty God ever has showed to me

Are her voice, and her hair, and eyes, and the dear red curve of her lips.

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

On Growing Old

Be with me, Beauty, for the fire is dying;

My dog and I are old, too old for roving.

Man, whose young passion sets the spindrift flying,

Is soon too lame to march, too cold for loving.

I take the book and gather to the fire,

Turning old yellow leaves; minute by minute

The clock ticks to my heart. A withered wire,

Moves a thiun ghost of music in the spinet.

I cannot sail your seas, I cannot wander

Your cornland, nor your hill-land, nor your valleys

Ever again, nore share the battle yonder

Where the young knight the broken squadron rallies.

Only stay quiet while my mind remembers

The beauty of fire from the beauty of embers.

Beauty, have pity! for the strong have power,

The rich their wealth, the beautiful their grace,

Summer of man its sunlight and its flower.

Spring-time of man, all April in a face.

Only, as in the jostling in the Strand,

Where the mob thrusts, or loiters, or is loud,

The beggar with the saucer in his hand

Asks only a penny from the passing crowd,

So, from this glittering world with all its fashion,

Its fire, and play of men, its stir, its march,

Let me have wisdom, Beauty, wisdom and passion,

Bread to the soul, rain when the summers parch.

Give me but these, and though the darkness close

Even the night will blossom as the rose.

The Everlasting Mercy (Excerpts)

O young men, pray to be kept whole

From bringing down a weaker soul.

Your minute’s joy so meet in doin’

May be the woman’s door to ruin;

The door to wandering up and down,

A painted whore at half a crown.

The bright mind fouled, the beauty gay

All eaten out and fallen away,

By drunken days and weary tramps

From pub to pub by city lamps

Till men despise the game they started

Till health and beauty are departed,

And in a slum the reeking hag

Mumbles a crust with toothy jag,

Or gets the river’s help to end

The life too wrecked for man to mend.

But if they were happier, they had to die

The same as everyone and I.

And no one lives again, but dies,

And all the bright goes out of eyes,

And all the skill goes out of hands,

And all the wise brain understands,

And all the beauty, all the power

Is cut down like a withered flower.

In all the show from birth to rest

I give the poor dumb cattle best.

I am the fire. Back, stand back,

Or else I’ll fetch your skulls a crack;

D’you see these copper nozzles here?

They weigh ten pounds apiece, my dear;

I’m fire of hell come up this minute

To burn this town, and all that’s in it.

To burn you dead and burn you clean,

You cogwheels in a stopped machine,

You hearts of snakes, and brains of pigeons,

You dead devout of dead religions,

You offspring of the hen and ass,

By Pilate ruled, and Caiaphas.

Now your account is totted. Learn

Hell’s flames are loose and you shall burn.

Out into darkness, out to night,

My flaring heart gave plenty light,

So wild it was there was no knowing

Whether the clouds or stars were blowing;

Blown chimney pots and folk blown blind,

And puddles glimmering like my mind,

And chinking glass from windows banging,

And inn signs swung like people hanging,

And in my heart the drink unpriced,

The burning cataracts of Christ.

By where the brook clucks in the ditch.

A gipsy’s camp was in the copse,

Three felted tents, with beehive tops,

And round black marks where fires had been,

And one old wagon painted green,

And three ribbed horses wrenching grass,

And three wild boys to watch me pass,

And one old woman by the fire

Hulking a rabbit warm from wire.

I loved to see the horses bait.

I felt I walked at Heaven’s gate,

That Heaven’s gate was opened wide

Yet still the gipsies camped outside.

So past, and past the stone heap white

That dewberry trailers hid from sight,

And down the field so full of springs,

Where mewing peewits clap their wings,

And past the trap made for the mill

Into the field below the hill.

There was a mist along the stream,

A wet mist, dim, like in a dream;

I heard the heavy breath of cows;

And waterdrops from th’alder boughs;

And eels, or snakes, in dripping grass,

Whipping aside to let me pass.

The gate was backed against the ryme

To pass the cows at milking time.

And by the gate as I went out

A moldwarp rooted earth wi’s snout.

A few steps up the Callows’ Lane

Brought me above the mist again,

The two great fields arose like death

Above the mists of human breath.

All earthly things that blessed morning

Were everlasting joy and warning.

The gate was Jesus’ way made plain,

The mole was Satan foiled again,

Black blinded Satan snouting way

Along the red of Adam’s clay;

The mist was error and damnation,

The lane the road unto salvation.

Out of the mist into the light,

O blessed gift of inner sight.

The past was faded like a dream;

There come the jingling of a team,

A ploughman’s voice, a clink of chain,

Slow hoofs, and harness under strain.

Up the slow slope a team came bowing,

Old Callow at his autumn ploughing,

Old Callow, stooped above the hales,

Ploughing the stubble into wales.

His grave eyes looking straight ahead,

Shearing a long straight furrow red;

His plough-foot high to give it earth

To bring new food for men to birth.

O wet red swathe of earth laid bare,

O truth, O strength, O gleaming share,

O patient eyes that watch the goal,

O ploughman of the sinner’s soul.

O Jesus, drive the coulter deep

To plough my living man from sleep.

O Christ who holds the open gate,

O Christ who drives the furrow straight,

O Christ, the plough, O Christ, the laughter

Of holy white birds flying after,

Lo, all my heart’s field red and torn,

And Thou wilt bring the young green corn,

The young green corn divinely springing,

The young green corn forever singing;

And when the field is fresh and fair

Thy blessed feet shall glitter there,

And we will walk the weeded field,

And tell the golden harvest’s yield,

The corn that makes the holy bread

By which the soul of man is fed,

The holy bread, the food unpriced,

Thy everlasting mercy, Christ.