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

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

MALEFACTORS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Nailed to these green laths long ago
Last Line: Dreary as a passing-bell.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): England; Landscape; English

NAILED to these green laths long ago,
You cramp and shrivel into dross,
Blotched with mildews, gnawed with moss,
And now the eye can scarcely know
The snake among you from the kite,
So sharp does Death's fang bite.

I guess your stories; you were shot
Hovering above the miller's chicks;
And you, coiled on his threshold bricks --
Hissing you died; and you, sir Stoat,
Dazzled with stableman's lantern stood
And tasted crabtree wood.

Here then you leered-at luckless churls,
Clutched to your clumsy gibbet, shrink
To shapeless orts; hard by the brink
Of this black scowling pond that swirls
To turn the wheel beneath the mill,
The wheel so long since still.

There's your revenge, the wheel at tether,
The miller gone, the white planks rotten,
The very name of the mill forgotten,
Dimness and silence met together.
Felons of fur and feather, can
There lurk some crime in man,

In man your executioner,
Whom here Fate's cudgel battered down?
Did he too filch from squire and clown?
The damp gust makes the ivy whir
Like passing death; the sluices well,
Dreary as a passing-bell.

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