Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WINTER NIGHTS; A BACKWARD LOOK, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN



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WINTER NIGHTS; A BACKWARD LOOK, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Strange chord! The weir-pool's tussling dance
Last Line: Are the heart's invincible law.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): England; Landscape; Winter; English


STRANGE chord! the weir-pool's tussling dance,
Curt crows, and a pleading bell;
While westward day with a maenad glance
Bids the blue-lipped floods farewell.
The star-led enemy airs begin
To prowl in a deadly crawl,
And along these village parapets thin
Swoops Night like the end of all.

Black amphitheatre, eyeless Shades
That stalk the monstrous stage,
Here vainly descend your ghostly raids
And measureless icy rage!
Here village blood to the threat in the air
Responds with sparkling streams,
And here and there and everywhere
Humanity's victory beams.

See Peter in the latticed loft
Put the last of his work away;
His mood -- the apple-scent not so soft,
And the lantern's honey ray
So paints his cheek, that the urchin lad
That haunts him whenever he can
Copies his tread, and calls him dad,
And feels ten times a man.

In the inn the creased young shopman shines
At the lancers and quadrilles,
Up and down, in and out the smiling lines
His twinkling courtesy thrills
Lavinia here, Amelia there --
Their blushes flower in pleasure,
And smoothing back their straying hair
They enchant themselves with the measure.

Or perhaps on the candled platform stands
The carpenter of the place,
Gripping his songbook with both hands;
To the piano's strumming bass
He venturing adds his woodnotes wild;
We applaud the patriot feeling,
And, flats and sharps so reconciled,
We "list the music stealing."

Often again in the flame-like cold
The church's rustling aisles
Are beset with quiring young and old
For whom Christ's coming smiles:
"On Jordan's banks" -- O how the rose
Breaks red from each dusty tomb,
And the team from the Bull come proudly to pull
Their bells as Christ nears home.

Midwinter mirth! the magic of earth;
The threadbare soul rejoices
And glittering hears by time's hoarse weirs
Through the rain those honest voices;
The red-screened windows of schoolhouse and inn
Dart life through the moorlands raw,
And the lovetalk, carolling, dancing din,
Are the heart's invincible law.





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