PAIN and spilt blood and an appalling cry
Turn the earth's air to poison and make bitter
The bread we eat and lay across our sleep
A quivering shadow like a gash that bleeds.
We laugh and are ashamed as those who mock
An open grave.
And yet the wet stalks of the hyacinths
Must soon, amid green spears, bear purple flowers!
And yet, from rain-soaked earth and crumpled leaves,
The yellow primrose, with a sweet swift pang.
Must send Spring's perilous breath, sharp-shuddering
With faint and delicate treachery, thro' our veins!
Shall we henceforth before these hushed wood-things
Stand dazed and shamed? Or shall we in strange mood
Laugh weeping laughter, as those laugh who hear
Infants make holiday upon a grave?
Softly with pungent scent of fields fresh-ploughed
The small soft misty rain through dripping boughs
Washes the crumbling roots of fallen trees;
Red-Campion droops his petals to the earth;
While, wild and clear, from liquid rain-sweet throat.
As though no graves covered the green earth's face,
Bursts, as of old, the blackbird's shameless song.
|This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.
The author died in 1963, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 30 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.