Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A FADING PHANTOM, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A FADING PHANTOM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The bold sun like a merry lord
Last Line: That now mere doubt flits by!
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund

THE bold sun like a merry lord
Looked in the barn and laughed there
To see such roast beef on the board,
Such ale and jest on draught there;
The toasts were drunk, and still awhile
The roof with uproar rung,
But lured aside I crossed the stile
And tyrannous tears upsprung.

Far-slanting from the hilly baulk
The acres drew my gaze
Into the fields I used to walk
And into other days:
Hark to that voice -- but what was said?
My brain strove as it thinned.
I half deciphered from the dead
What passed me like the wind.

O voice of thousand throats and notes,
How in this sudden swoon
Shall mind distil the mist that floats
So ghostly through the noon?
I stared upon the far-off wood,
The weir's eye flashed on mine,
And chilly ran my summer blood
To know Time's fluttering sign.

There, Heaven, and there, sweet Heaven, you shone;
I still surveyed the ground,
I, like a spy; the grace was gone
And nothing to be found.
With memory laboured still my mind
Fain to unravel life;
As if, poor fool, so clumsy-kind!
It knew joy's hieroglyph.

"In luck and love together!" it cried;
"The hay made incense, gold
Swept Danae's lap in June's high tide
As the shower in sunshine rolled;
Through golden air the river took
His rich ancestral ease,
And poppies danced their flames and shook
Their dark lives to the breeze.

To his vast arms the shepherd oak
Called Ariel's winged rout,
Cool in crook'd lanes to plodding folk
The cottages peeped out.
With plunging elves the wells were wild,
The brooks with naiads dinned,
The vaporous willows sighed and smiled
As passed the dallying wind."

No more, my dull interpreter!
When once the soul is flown
The tenement's as void of her
As common clay or stone;
Surely she passed, that pale voice seemed
Hers, surely she was night?
But O my heart! how once she gleamed
That now mere doubt flits by!

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