The English Graves


The rains of yesterday are flown,
And light is on the farthest hills;
The homeliest rough grass by the stone
To radiance thrills;

And the wet bank above the ditch,
Trailing its thorny bramble, shows
Soft apparitions, clustered rich,
Of the pure primrose.

The shining stillness breathes, vibrates
From simple earth to lonely sky,
A hinted wonder that awaits
The heart’s reply.

O lovely life! the chaffinch sings
High on the hazel, near and clear.
Sharp to the heart’s blood, sweetness springs
In the morning here.

But my heart goes with the young cloud
That voyages the April light
Southward, across the beaches loud
And cliffs of white

To fields of France, far fields that spread
Beyond the tumbling of the waves,
And touches as with shadowy tread
The English graves.

There too is Earth that never weeps,
The unrepining Earth, that holds
The secret of a thousand sleeps
And there unfolds

Flowers of sweet ignorance on the slope
Where strong arms dropped and blood choked breath,
Earth that forgets all things but hope
And smiles on death.

They poured their spirits out in pride,
They throbbed away the price of years:
Now that dear ground is glorified
With dreams, with tears.

A flower there is sown, to bud
And bloom beyond our loss and smart–
Noble France, at its root is blood
From England’s heart.

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