Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FESTUBERT SHRINE, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE FESTUBERT SHRINE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A sycamore on either side
Last Line: We are no less poor than they.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): Mary. Mother Of Jesus; Prayer; Women In The Bible; World War I; Virgin Mary; First World War

A SYCAMORE on either side
In whose lovely leafage cried
Hushingly the little winds --
Thus was Mary's shrine descried.

"Sixteen Hundred and Twenty-Four"
Legended above the door,
"Pray, sweet gracious Lady, pray
For our souls," -- and nothing more.

Builded of rude gray stones and these
Scarred and marred from base to frieze
With the shrapnel's pounces -- ah,
Fair she braved War's gaunt disease:

Fair she pondered on the strange
Embitterments of latter change,
Looking fair towards Festubert,
Cloven roof and tortured grange.

Work of carving too there was,
(Once had been her reredos),
In this cool and peaceful cell
That the hoarse guns blared across.

Twisted oaken pillars graced
With oaken amaranths interlaced
In oaken garlandry, had borne
Her holy niche -- and now laid waste.

Mary, pray for us? O pray!
In thy dwelling by this way
What poor folks have knelt to thee!
We are no less poor than they.

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