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Ivor Gurney

Longford Dawns

Of course not all the watchers of the dawn
See Severn mists like forced-march mists withdraw
London has darkness changing into light
With just one quarter hour of any weight.

Casual and common is the wonder grown, -
Time's duty to lift lights curtain up and down.
But here Time is caught up clear in Eternity
And draws as breathless life as you or me.

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Lovely Playthings

Dawn brings lovely playthings to the mind,
But sunset fights and goes down in battle blind.
The banners of dawn spread over in mystery,
But nightfall ends a boast and a pageantry.

After the halt of dawn comes the slow moving of
Time till the sun's hidden rush and the day is admitted.
Sunset dies out in a smother of something like love,
With dew and the elm-hung stars and owl outcries half-witted.

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On Somme

Suddenly into the still air burst thudding
And thudding and cold fear possessed me all,
On the gray slopes there, where Winter in sullen brooding
Hung between height and depth of the ugly fall
Of Heaven to earth; and the thudding was illness own.
But still a hope I kept that were we there going over
I; in the line, I should not fail, but take recover
From others courage, and not as coward be known.
No flame we saw, the noise and the dread alone
Was battle to us; men were enduring there such
And such things, in wire tangled, to shatters blown.
Courage kept, but ready to vanish at first touch.
Fear, but just held. Poets were luckier once
In the hot fray swallowed and some magnificence

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London Dawn

Dawn comes up on London,
And night's undone.
Stars are routed
And street lamps outed.
Sodden great clouds begin sail again
Like all-night anchored galleons to the main
From careful shallows to the far-withdrawn
Wide outer seas of sky,
Sleepers above river change their pain,
Lockhart's shows lively up Blackfriars Lane
Motors dash by
With 'Mirrors', 'Mails', 'Telegraphs' what not?
South shore of Thames on London shows a blot,
And first careful coffee-stall is withdrawn.

Only the poet strolls about at ease,
Wondering what mortal thing his soul may please,
And spitting at the drains, while Paul's as ever
Is mighty and a king of sky and river,
And cares no more, Much-Father, for this one

[...] Read more

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