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The Western Towers
Gone to Earth
The Roman Well
At Ravenscar
After Sunset
An Altar at Cilurnum
A Chorister
The Great East Window
The Hunters of Banna
The Legion goes North
Lines in October
The Maiden Way
A Song of Forgetting
St Cuthbert's Quest
St Cuthbert's Windows
The Ringers
The Snail
The Street
Traveller's Joy
Wind at Night








Daylight in Spring is white and mild,

Nor ever intricate; its eyes

The eyes are of a little child

Unmysteried. To April skies

Hope’s clear as water is, and Death

Is misty worlds away. But this

A deeper grace and meaning is.

I cannot read the truth it saith.

This is the honey light of days

Wherein some long desire is won,

And harvestings of beauty done,

The seed of what? Of what the husk?

It trembles on die edge of dusk

Quick with the fire, the mystery

Of bright worlds gone and worlds to be;

Quick with amaze that Sorrow should

Share in the playfulness of God.


The lime leaves drift to the quiet earth,

As very old men die they die,      a

And like remembered moonlight lie

Under the boughs that gave them birth.

I think these gentle dyings spend

Some precious bounty of wise pain,

A noble life’s too early end,

Great love poured out the half m vain,

Flashings of beauty unfulfilled

Are here in subtle ways distilled,

And tremble in the October air

A mute sad music everywhere.


The lime—washed cottages peep through

The yellow trees like eyes of blue

That weary are, nor set to see

More than appears. The robin sings

Upon their eaves half bitterly

As though he mocked. Perhaps he knows

Too well how human living goes

And, little cynic, thus he stings

The quietness with scorn. And yet

The wren, that happy hedge-boy, blows

A cheerful whistle as he goes

Upon his common labour set.

In endless, chattering consultations

The winter birds’ united nations

Prove that their races can agree.

The hedgerow, half its banners lost

In steep retreat before the frost

Uplifts its beech-gold with a will.

Bare elder, what a loutish tree!

Tosses a few nipt berries still.

And hawthorn, now grown so far away

From that white worldliness of May

When, ringing the still and scented fields

Her lovely limbs outshone the day,

Close in her convent until Spring

A rich wayfarer’s portion yields

To every pilgrim on the wing.

The late blackberry, scant and thinned,

Tastes, if you try, like evening wind.


Dog-roses lifting lonely stars

Like Betelgeux shine red or Mars.

The great queen wasp in languid flight

A lodging seeks for the long night

Of winter. What a plight is hers

Bereft of all her courtiers

And homeless in a dying world!

Now low in the ferny bank she glides

Where in the dew cobwebs are pearled.

Scorning their beauty false she hides

In foxgloves whose dismantled towers

Keep wondrous green in poorer hours.

A celandine like summer milk,

Mistaking Spring, serenely grows

Where crinkled bracken sounds like silk

When lady wind awalking goes.

And here and there, incarnate fear,

A listening rabbit will appear

With moving nostril and blank eye

Querying What, and Who? and Why?

Then flees to tell his furry clan

He has seen that cruel monster Man.

The hedge is broken through, and here

A brown cow stares with massive wink

Saying, if speech were in her leer,

The supreme evil is to think.


Thus in his basket Nature brings

Such curious and countless things.

A foreign pedlar from the fairs

Showing his rich, assorted wares,

He does not know my native speech,

And cannot tell me each from each

What this is for, or that, or why

He should be selling and I should buy.

 And so we smile, and bow, and I

Take this and that and pay him well,

Bid him good day, and cannot tell

Whither be goes in the fading light

Closing his basket for the night.


Now opal dusk, a precious stone

Turned in the light of that low moon

With what elusive gleams is lit

Of splendour coming after it?

The starry hedgerows of the sky

Are flowered and fruited as this is.

They have their autumn and they die

Through aeons and by galaxies

In the same rich and rhythmic death

As hawthorn when it withereth.

Their pregnant budding, fiery stress

Is gulfed in cosmic quietness

Passing in sabbaths of re-birth

Such as relight this fading earth

Through the hurt beauty and long rest

Of Thought unknown and Mind unguessed.



Copyright © 2008 [Fen Tyler]