Now by the wall of the ancient town I lean
Myself, like ancient wall and dust and sky,
And the purple dusk, grown old, grown old in heart.
Shadows of clouds flow inward from the sea.
The mottled fields grow dark. The golden wall
Grows gray again, turns stone again, the tower,
No longer kindled, darkens against a cloud.
Old is the world, old as the world am I;
The cries of sheep rise upward from the fields,
Forlorn and strange; and wake an ancient echo
In fields my heart has known, but has not seen.
"These fields"—an unknown voice beyond the wall
Murmurs—"were once the province of the sea.
Where now the sheep graze, mermaids were at play,
Sea-horses galloped, and the great jeweled tortoise
Walked slowly, looking upward at the waves,
Bearing upon his back a thousand barnacles,
A white acropolis . . ." The ancient tower
Sends out, above the houses and the trees,
And the wide fields below the ancient walls,
A measured phrase of bells. And in the silence
I hear a woman's voice make answer then:
"Well, they are green, although no ship can sail them. . . .
Sky-larks rest in the grass, and start up singing
Before the girl who stoops to pick sea-poppies.
Spiny, the poppies are, and oh how yellow!