Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LEISURE, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN



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LEISURE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Listen, and lose not the sweet luring cry
Last Line: And mercy's music be for ever dumb.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): England; Landscape; Leisure; English


LISTEN, and lose not the sweet luring cry,
Nor let the far-off torches gleam in vain;
The moments are so few, so soon slipt by,
And yet so rare to lull the harried brain.
For now is autumn fully come, and steals
In a king's daydream over weald and wold,
And the last honey is scoured, the last sheaf housed;
And the boon earth reveals,
With the melodious drone of plenty drowzed,
Leisure and loving-kindness manifold.

Then when the early primroses of day
Bud through the cool mist, fail O fail not then
To scan the sign of beauty, nor betray
The soul's first love that might not flower again.
And calm and marvellous the wide lands lie
Dim with awakening-notes of little birds;
And the delighted Spirit in the dells
Wooes the sun's opening eye
With his droll night-whims, puffballs' pepper-gourds,
Startling white mushrooms and bronze chantarelles.

Gentle and dewy-bright the landscape fills
Through the serene and crystal atmosphere;
Night's blackamoors sink into reedy ghylls
To skulk unsunned till eve's pale lantern peer;
And silver elvish gossamers go dance
On twinkling voyages at the caprice
Of autumn half-asleep and idly playing
With fancies as they chance,
The feather's fall, the doomed red leaf delaying,
And all the tiny circumstance of peace.

Along the purpled bramble-brake he treads
The giant sauntering like a peasant boy,
Murmuring a song, brushing through russet beds
Of sunburned bracken with "Hi-gee" and "Whoi";
Forgetting all the tumult and the toil
Of harvest, for the vale farms all are still,
Save thatchers on the yellow ricks, or where
Smoke's light blue pennants coil
From white-coned oasts, or bonfires fume and flare,
Or flagging breezes twirl the black-vanned mill.

Now the old hedger with his half-moon-hook,
Plashing the spiked thorn, musing of bygone men,
Shakes the crab apples plopping in the brook
Till jangling wildgeese flush from the drowned fen.
Nodding he plods in his gray revery,
Self-sorry robins humouring his thought's cast;
While scarce perceived, by red walls warm with peaches,
By bosque and signal-tree,
And otters'-lodges on the river-reaches,
The feather-footed moments tiptoe past.

Tranquilly beats the country's heart to-day, --
Golden-age-beckonings, lost pastoral things,
Fantastically near and far-away,
Stretch in the sunny calm their blazoned wings.
Then tarry, tiptoe moments, nor too soon
Let death beat down your saffron butterflies
Nor crush your gleaming autumn crocuses,
But in a gradual swoon
Let long dreams flaunt till eve accomplishes
And round the down the tide-mist multiplies.

Tomorrow's brindled shouting storms will flood
The purblind hollows with a leaden rain
And flat the gleaning-fields to choking mud
And writhe the groaning woods with bursts of pain.
What though that wrath relent ere night? the hills,
Lonely in sharp light from horizons cold,
Shall sadden, and the vapour-piercing spires,
Where the last sunlight thrills,
Jewelling the ghostwhite city with wistful fires,
Bring tears like spent delights and tales long told.

Tomorrow -- but to-day, to-day is young.
Still nods the sunflower, still the church owls prey,
Nor yet has sparrow chirped nor cockerel flung
From cobwebbed rafters his third roundelay
Which is the very music of the morn.
Those hours of peaceful witchcraft are to come;
Wander we lovingly and gather store
Of balms for griefs unborn:
Lest the far fairy eyes appeal no more,
And mercy's music be for ever dumb.





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