Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DEATH OF CHILDHOOD BELIEFS, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

DEATH OF CHILDHOOD BELIEFS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There the puddled lonely lane
Last Line: Crying armageddon near.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): Innocence

THERE the puddled lonely lane,
Lost among the red swamp sallows,
Gleams through drifts of summer rain
Down to ford the sandy shallows,
Where the dewberry brambles crane.

And the stream in cloven clay
Round the bridging sheep-gate stutters,
Wind-spun leaves burn silver-grey,
Far and wide the blue moth flutters
Over swathes of warm new hay.

Scrambling boys with mad to-do
Paddle in the sedges' hem,
Ever finding joy anew;
Clocks toll time out -- not for them,
With what years to frolic through!

How shall I return and how
Look once more on those old places!
For Time's cloud is on me now
That each day, each hour effaces
Visions once on every bough.

Stones could talk together then,
Jewels lay for hoes to find,
Each oak hid King Charles agen,
Ay, nations in his powdered rind;
Sorcery lived with homeless men.

Spider Dick, with cat's green eyes
That could pierce stone walls, has flitted --
By some hedge he shakes and cries,
A lost man, half-starved, half-witted,
Whom the very stoats despise.

Trees on hill-tops then were Palms,
Closing pilgrims' arbours in;
David walked there singing Psalms;
Out of the clouds white seraphin
Leaned to watch us fill our bin.

Where's the woodman now to tell
Will o' the Wisp's odd fiery anger?
Where's the ghost to toll the bell
Startling midnight with its clangour
Till the wind seemed but a knell?

Drummers jumping from the tombs
Banged and thumped all through the town,
Past shut shops and silent rooms
While the flaming spires fell down; --
Now but dreary thunder booms.

Smuggler trapped in headlong spate,
Smuggler's mare with choking whinney,
Well I knew your fame, your fate;
By the ford and shaking spinney
Where you perished I would wait,

Half in glory, half in fear,
While the fierce flood, trough and crest,
Whirled away the shepherd's gear,
And sunset wildfire coursed the west,
Crying Armageddon near.

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