Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A SUPERSTITION REVISITED, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A SUPERSTITION REVISITED, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: While on the lavender by the door
Last Line: Defied eternity.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): Death - Children; Death - Babies

WHILE on the lavender by the door
The rime was gathering chill,
And darkness with a sigh or two
Heard daylight near the hill,

And while the candle drunkenly
Sank, top and tallow aflare,
Flickering bronze on the half-dropt jaw
Of the woman crouching there,

The baby dying in her arms
Seemed yawning for some breath,
And, as he looked in painful wish,
He saw not mother but Death.

This Death at first was hollow-eyed,
Deep shadows masked the face
As through the room the crazy light
Tossed blackness and grimace.

But thence with modulation kind
As a honeyed shower steals on
He glistened to that tiny soul,
He smiled and his blue eyes shone.

"Thou art the one," the free soul sang,
"That camest here with me
No long time since; I'd take thy hand
And go back home with thee."

Soft and soft they crossed the threshold,
Swiftly had they flown,
But through a garret window sounded
A dreaming, wavering moan;

"Loose, loose my hand," the winged soul prayed,
"I have here a thing to say."
A moment, and as mild as moonlight
Hand in hand, away!

The grandmother dream-awakened saw
Jill's baby in the bed:
Cold hands, my pretty! ah, that dear child!
She knew, the child was dead.

Upon her dreadless eye the form
Faded, and in the thatch
The sparrows roused to the touch of day;
She went down, lifted the latch

Where Jill, her swart hair torn, was clutching
Creation turned to clay,
And the vain milk to her bare bosom
Still was finding way.

"They always come," the old head thought
"To tell us when they're free,"
And with dry eyes, uncouthly wise,
She clasped her daughter, whose surmise
Defied eternity.

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