The blackbird's "pret-ty de-urr!"
In Wessex accents marked as mine
Is heard afar and near.
He flutes it strong, as if in song
No R's of feebler tone
Than his appear in "pretty dear,"
Have blackbirds ever known.
Yet they pipe "prattie deerh!" I glean,
Beneath a Scottish sky,
And "pehty de-aw!" amid the treen
Of Middlesex or nigh.
While some folk say--perhaps in play -
Who know the Irish isle,
'Tis "purrity dare!" in treeland there
When songsters would beguile.
Well: I'll say what the listening birds
Say, hearing "pret-ty de-urr!" -
However strangers sound such words,
That's how we sound them here.
Yes, in this clime at pairing time,
As soon as eyes can see her
At dawn of day, the proper way
To call is "pret-ty de-urr!"
Posted by Arborfield at 6:04 pm
As before, in antique silence--immemorial funeral piles -
Where the sleek herds trampled daily the remains of flint-tipt arrows
Mid the thyme and chamomiles;
And the Sarsen stone there, dateless,
On whose breast we had sat and told the zephyrs many a tender vow,
Held the heat of yester sun, as sank thereon one fated mateless
From those far fond hours till now.
Maybe flustered by my presence
Rose the peewits, just as all those years back, wailing soft and loud,
And revealing their pale pinions like a fitful phosphorescence
Up against the cope of cloud,
Where their dolesome exclamations
Seemed the voicings of the self-same throats I had heard when life was
Though since that day uncounted frail forgotten generations
Of their kind had flecked the scene. -
And so, living long and longer
In a past that lived no more, my eyes discerned there, suddenly,
That a figure broke the skyline--first in vague contour, then stronger,
And was crossing near to me.
Posted by Arborfield at 8:15 am
I am laughing by the brook with her,
Splashed in its tumbling stir;
And then it is a blankness looms
As if I walked not there,
Nor she, but found me in haggard rooms,
And treading a lonely stair.
With radiant cheeks and rapid eyes
We sit where none espies;
Till a harsh change comes edging in
As no such scene were there,
But winter, and I were bent and thin,
And cinder-gray my hair.
We dance in heys around the hall,
Weightless as thistleball;
And then a curtain drops between,
As if I danced not there,
But wandered through a mounded green
To find her, I knew where.
Posted by Arborfield at 8:29 am
[Walking on Plymouth Hoe in 1903]
A very West-of-Wessex girl,
As blithe as blithe could be,
Was once well-known to me,
And she would laud her native town,
And hope and hope that we
Might sometime study up and down
Its charms in company.
But never I squired my Wessex girl
In jaunts to Hoe or street
When hearts were high in beat,
Nor saw her in the marbled ways
Where market-people meet
That in her bounding early days
Were friendly with her feet.
Yet now my West-of-Wessex girl,
When midnight hammers slow
From Andrew's, blow by blow,
As phantom draws me by the hand
To the place - Plymouth Hoe -
Where side by side in life, as planned,
We never were to go!
Begun in Plymouth, March 1913.
Posted by Arborfield at 7:47 am
I shall rot here, with those whom in their day
You never knew,
And alien ones who, ere they chilled to clay,
Met not my view,
Will in your distant grave-place ever neighbour you.
No shade of pinnacle or tree or tower,
While earth endures,
Will fall on my mound and within the hour
Steal on to yours;
One robin never haunt our two green covertures.
Some organ may resound on Sunday noons
By where you lie,
Some other thrill the panes with other tunes
Where moulder I;
No selfsame chords compose our common lullaby.
The simply-cut memorial at my head
Perhaps may take
A Gothic form, and that above your bed
Be Greek in make;
No linking symbol show thereon for our tale's sake.
And in the monotonous moils of strained, hard-run
The eternal tie which binds us twain in one
No eye will see
Stretching across the miles that sever you from me.
Posted by Arborfield at 12:57 pm