Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN



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IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Earth is a quicksand; yon square tower
Last Line: Thy tiny skull?
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): Cemeteries; Churchyards; Graveyards


EARTH is a quicksand; yon square tower
Would still seem bold,
But its bleak flinty strength each hour
Is losing hold.

Small sound of gasping undertow
In this green bed!
Who shuts the gate will shut it slow,
Here sleep the dead:

Here sleep, or slept; here, chance, they sleep,
Though still this soil
As mad and clammed as shoals acreep
Around them boil.

The earth slips down to the low brown
Moss-eaten wall
Each year, and nettles and grasses drown
Its crumbling crawl.

The dog-rose and ox-daisies on
Time's tide come twirling,
And bubble and die where Joy is gone --
Sleep well, my darling.

Seldom the sexton with shrewd grin
Near thy grave-cloth,
With withered step and mumble thin
Awakes eve's moth.

Not a farm boy dares here destroy,
Through red-toothed nettles,
The chiff-chaff's nest, to strew the shells
Like fallen petals.

The silver-hooded moth upsprings,
The silver hour,
And wanders on with happy wings
By the hush tower,

That reels and whirs, and never drops,
That still is going;
For quicksand not an instant stops
Its deadly flowing.

And is Joy up and dancing there
Where deepening blue
Asks a new star? is that her hair
There freshed with dew?

Here, O the skull of some small wretch,
Some slaughtered jot,
And bones like bits of hated quitch
Recount fate's plot.

So lies thy skull? This earth, even this
Like quicksand weaves.
Sleep well, my darling, though I kiss
Lime or dead leaves.

Sleep in the flux as on the breast,
In the vortex loll;
In mid simoom, my innocence, rest;
In lightning's soul

Bower thyself! But, joyous eyes,
The deeps drag dull --
O morning smile and song, so lies
Thy tiny skull?





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