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Henry Treece

Love Song

Distance nor death shall part us, dear,
Nor yet the traitor word;
And love shall live within our home
As blithe as any bird.

The sight of you is in my eyes,
Your touch is in my hand;
They cannot part us now, my love,
With miles of weary land.

Man with his sword and Death his scythe,
Are but the tricks of time,
To tease me with the empty years
Before we shared one name.

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Poem - II

Death walks through the mind's dark woods,
Beautiful as aconite,
A lily-flower in his pale hand
And eyes like moonstones burning bright.

Love walks down heart's corridors
Singing for a crust of bread
All the tales of laughing youth
Who tomorrow will lie dead.

Here two summer metaphors;
For even on a sun-mad day
Laughter breaks into salt tears,
And grave is never far away.

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Love Poem

Let us go out in the rain, love,
And keep these memories clean;
Then stand beneath the sheltering eave
To fall in love with the moon.

And let us walk in the wood, dear,
Walk in the stillness of pines,
And sigh for the wild birds who cry there
All night in their shuddering dreams.

Then back to our waiting house, sweet,
Four wars and a sturdy roof,
Where nothing can ever harm us -
No, not even grinning Death.

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Tears are Two Small

Tears are too small a sign of grief,
My love, oh my sweet love!
A child will cry himself to sleep
As though his golden heart would break,
And yet will laugh himself awake
To see the morning cony leap.

Grief is too great to break a heart,
My sweet, though pain is there;
Too great for anything but death,
Blank madness underneath great seas,
Christ screaming from a million trees,
You, stark beneath a burial-cloth.

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Dumb Love

How do I love you then?
Till stone unfold his nature, and
Funereal rook his language,
Tongue dumb as bell unclappered
Lies in silent head.

How tell you hurt, my own?
Only as trees wind-anguished bend
And sigh their mournful message,
Or woman freshly widowed
Whispers to her dead.

How can it end, sweet Queen?
Only as leaf ends in the wind,
Blown to a new world's edge
For future's growth the food,
Rich as a dying word.

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Poem - III

Through the dark aisles of the wood
Where the pine-needles deaden all sound
And the dove flutters in the black boughs

Through twilit vaults of the forest
Where fungus stifles the roots
And the squirrel escapes with a cone

Through the dim alleys of pine
Where the bent stick moves like a snake
And the badger sniffs at the moon

Through the green graveyard of leaves
Where the stoat rehearses his kill
And the white skull grins in the fern.

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Lincolnshire Bomber Station

Across the road the homesick Romans made
The ground-mist thickens to a milky shroud;
Through flat, damp fields call sheep, mourning their dead
In cracked and timeless voices, unutterably sad,
Suffering for all the world, in Lincolnshire.

And I wonder how the Romans liked it here;
Flat fields, no sun, the muddy misty dawn,
And always, above all, the mad rain dripping down,
Rusting sword and helmet, wetting the feet
And soaking to the bone, down to the very heart . . .

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Ages

In that stone head, obscenity
Has been preserved a thousand years;
A bible-leaf of families
Have shuddered at the pointed ears.

The sword that hangs upon the wall
Is notched the length of its long blade,
And children at the village school
Dream of the trusses it has mowed.

Close against the lichened tower
Still lives a witch. Around her head
She wears a shawl, and white as flour
Her lips count every step she treads.

But when the dusk-born lovers stand
The figure sobs, 'Oh where's my soul?'
The sword sighs for the long-dead hand,
The old hag huddles from the owl.

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Relics

In that stone head, obscenity
Has been preserved a thousand years;
A bible-leaf of families
Have shuddered at the pointed ears.

The sword that hangs upon the wall
Is notched the length of its long blade,
And children at the village school
Dream of the trusses it has mowed.

Close against the lichened tower
Still lives a witch. Around her head
She wears a shawl, and white as flour
Her lips count every step she treads.

But when the dusk-born lovers stand
The figure sobs, 'Oh where's my soul?'
The sword sighs for the long-dead hand,
The old hag huddles from the owl.

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The Old Ones

The old ones knew that black was hate,
White garment purity and red one sin;
They spoke the language of the trees
And opened veins to let love in.

These old ones, feeling life was brief
And brittle as the fire-baked shard,
Could find no seat for sentiment,
So mended weakness with a sword.

In them the heart was made of gold,
But mind was forged of steel so sharp
That hand which plucked the harp could shape
From father's skull a drinking cup.

The old ones' fashion we have lost,
Whose red is passion, white deceit;
In casting devil from the flesh,
Who perish with the bread we eat.

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