Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NO CONTINUING CITY, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

NO CONTINUING CITY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The train with its smoke and its rattle went on
Last Line: "at this time next year."
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): Country Life; England; Farewell; Landscape; English; Parting

THE train with its smoke and its rattle went on,
And the heavy-cheeked porter wheeled off his mixed load;
She shivered, and stood as if loth to be gone,
Staring this way and that -- on the watery road,
And the inn with its arbour all naked and bleak,
And the weir churning foam, and the meaningless oast;
Till her husband turned back, and he stroked her pale cheek.
"O dear," murmured she, "must we go? but at most
I shall never live here
Above half a year."

And he with eyes keen as his bright singing mind,
While the cab tumbled on through the drifts of brown mist,
Shared her trouble; but knew that his future designed
A loftier life, could they meantime exist:
Then he sparkled and jested, and kissed his young sweet,
And they turned to the village, and stopped at the green
To enter the schoolhouse with echoing feet;
And she scanned, and she planned, though she murmured between
"I can never stay here
Above half a year."

And now forty years of his scholars have passed,
Dunce, sluggard and prizeman; the master remains:
He has built a new wing; and the school cap's recast;
And he makes his old jokes about beauty and brains.
And she speaks of home, but it is not this place,
But where a white waterfall springs down the crags,
And she goes to the garret, and stares into space,
Yet smiles when he finds her. The village tongue wags,
"She'll never be here
At this time next year."

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