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RETURN OF THE NATIVE, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: About the ramparts, quiet as a mother
Last Line: Incapable to stir a weed or moth.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): World War I; First World War

ABOUT the Ramparts, quiet as a mother
Kissing a child in dreams, the summer night
Cast a soft veil; the power beyond the stars
Was now intent upon the consonance
Of boughs and airs and earthy purities.

We stood, hard-watching in the eastward dark
A glowing pyre and vapour by Hill Sixty,
And wondered who was mocking, Peace or War?
The last train answered with far-dying echoes,
And passed along the cutting; now the plain
Lay in its first sleep, all its dwellings slept
And called the night their own. The old law here
Had come again with peasant tread to claim
So full and unabated property
That not one mark of a mad occupation
Might be conceived.

We only, watching, seemed
The battlefield, if we were not deluded
By dreaming ecstasies; could we have seen
The ordinance of eternity reversed,
And night disdained and dazzled into day,
And day shot into gulfs of glaring gloom?
Man in our time, and with our help, grew here
A pale Familiar; here he struck the Sun,
And for a season turned the Sun to blood;
Many such nights as this his Witch and he
Unmasked their metal, and with poisonous work
Broke the fair sanctuary of this world's rest
And circumvented God. But now misrule
With all its burning rout had gone on the wind,
Leaving us with the south-west breeze to whisper
In bushes younger than the brows it cooled,
Foreheads entrenched with all the argument
Of what was once Time's vast compulsion, now
Incapable to stir a weed or moth.

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