Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, REUNION IN WAR, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

REUNION IN WAR, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The windmill in his smock of white
Last Line: In dead men's envied bones.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): World War I; First World War


THE windmill in his smock of white
Stared from his little crest,
Like a slow smoke was the moonlight
As I went like one possessed

Where the glebe path makes shortest way;
The stammering wicket swung.
I passed amid the crosses grey
Where opiate yew-boughs hung.

The bleached grass shuddered into sighs,
The dogs that knew this moon
Far up were harrying sheep, the cries
Of hunting owls went on.

And I among the dead made haste
And over flat vault stones
Set in the path unheeding paced
Nor thought of those chill bones.

Thus to my sweetheart's cottage I,
Who long had been away,
Turned as the traveller turns adry
To brooks to moist his clay.

Her cottage stood like a dream, so clear
And yet so dark; and now
I thought to find my more than dear
And if she'd kept her vow.

Old house-dog from his barrel came
Without a voice, and knew
And licked my hand; all seemed the same
To the moonlight and the dew.

By the white damson then I took
The tallest osier wand
And thrice upon her casement strook,
And she, so fair, so fond,

Looked out, and saw in wild delight,
And tiptoed down to me,
And cried in silent joy that night
Beside the bullace tree.

O cruel time to take away,
Or worse to bring agen;
Why slept not I in Flanders clay
With all the murdered men?

For I had changed, or she had changed,
Though true loves both had been,
Even while we kissed we stood estranged
With the ghosts of war between.

We had not met but a moment ere
War baffled joy, and cried,
"Love's but a madness, a burnt flare;
The shell's a madman's bride."

The cottage stood, poor stone and wood,
Poorer than stone stood I;
Then from her kind arms moved in a mood
As grey as the cereclothed sky.

The roosts were stirred, each little bird
Called fearfully out for day;
The church clock with his dead voice whirred
As if he bade me stay

To trace with foolish fingers all
The letters on the stones
Where thick beneath the twitch roots crawl
In dead men's envied bones.





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