Christmas in Prison
Outside, white snow
And freezing mire.
The heart of the house
Is a blazing fire !
Even so whatever hags do ride
His outward fortune, withinside
The heart of a man burns Christmastide !
On Where's the use to write ?
What can I tell you, dear ?
Just that I want you so
Who are not near.
Just that I miss the lamp whose blessed light
Was God's own moon to shine upon my night,
And newly mourn each new day's lost delight
Just — oh, it will not ease my pain —
That I am lonely
Until I see you once again,
You — you only.
To The Old Year
Old year, farewell !
Much have you given which was ill to bear :
Much have taken which was dear, so dear :
Much have you spoken which was ill to hear ;
Echoes of speech first uttered deep in hell.
Pass now like some grey harlot to the tomb !
Yet die in child-birth, and from out your womb
Leap the young year unsullied ! He perchance
Shall bring to man his lost inheritance.
I'm homesick for my hills again -
My hills again!
To see above the Severn plain,
Unscabbarded against the sky,
The blue high blade of Cotswold lie;
The giant clouds go royally
By jagged Malvern with a train
Of shadows. Where the land is low
Like a huge imprisoning O
I hear a heart that's sound and high,
I hear the heart within me cry:
'I'm homesick for my hills again -
My hills again!
Cotswold or Malvern, sun or rain!
My hills again!'
The Hateful Road
Oh pleasant things there be
Without this prison yard :
Fields green, and many a tree
With shadow on the sward,
And drifting clouds that pass
Saihng above the grass.
All lovely things that be
Beyond this strong abode
Send comfort back to me ;
Yea, everything I see
Except the hateful road ;
The road that runs so free
With many a dip and rise,
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To the Unknown Nurse
Moth-like at night you flit or fly
To where the other patients lie ;
I hear, as you brush by my door
The flutter of your wings, no more.
Shall I now call you in and see
The phantom vanish instantly ?
Perhaps some sixteen stone or worse.
Suddenly falling through my verse !
Nay, be you sour, or be you sweet,
I'd see you not. Life's wisdom is
To keep one's dreams. Oh never quiz
The lovely lady in the street !
I knew a man who went large-eyed
And happy, till he bought pince-nez
And saw things as they were. He died
— A pessimist — the other day.
A Christmas Wish
I CAN NOT give you happiness :
For wishes long have ceased to bring
The Fortune which to page and king
They brought in those good centuries,
When with a quaint and starry wand
Witches turned poor men's thoughts to gold
And Cinderella's carriage rolled
Through moonlight into Fairyland.
I may but wish you happiness :
Not Pleasure's dusty fruit to hnd,
But wines of Mirth and Friendship kind,
And Love, to make with you a home.
But may Our Lord whose Son has come
Now heed the wish and make it true,
Even as elves were wont to do
When wishing could bring happiness.
The Oldest Inhabitant Hears Far Off The Drums Of Death
Sometimes 'tis far off, and sometimes 'tis nigh,
Such drummerdery noises too they be !
'Tis odd — oh, I do hope I baint to die
Just as the summer months be coming on,
And buffly chicken out, and bumble-bee :
Though, to be sure, I cannot hear 'em plain
For this drat row as goes a-drumming on.
Just like a little soldier in my brain.
And oh, I've heard we got to go through flame
And water-floods — but maybe 'tisn't true !
I alius were a-frightened o' the sea.
And burning fires — oh, it would be a shame
And all the garden ripe, and sky so blue.
Such drummerdery noises, too, they be.
To You, Unsung
How should I sing you ? — you who dwell unseen
Within the darkest chamber of my heart.
What picturesque and inward-turning art
Could shadow forth the image of my queen.
Sweet, world aloof, ineffably serene
Like holy dawn, yet so entirely part
Of what am I, as well a man might start
To paint his breathing, or his red blood's sheen.
Nay, seek yourself, who are their truest breath,
In these my songs made for delight of men.
Oh, where they fail, 'tis I that am in blame.
But, where the words loom larger than my pen.
Be sure they ring glad echoes of your name,
And Love that triumphs over Life and Death.
What we Think of
Walking round our cages like the lions at the
We think of things that we have done, and things
we mean to do :
Of girls we left behind us, of letters that are due,
Of boating on the river beneath a sky of blue,
Of hills we cUmbed together — not always for the
Walking roimd our cages Uke the lions at the Zoo,
We see the phantom faces of you, and you, and
Faces of those we loved or loathed — oh every one
we knew !
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