O Little Plum Tree In The Garden, You'Re

O little plum tree in the garden, you're
Aflower again,
With memories of a million springs and my
Brief years of pain.
O little tree, you have the power to find
Your youth again,
Grow young, while I grow old in tenderness
And wise in pain.

I Have To Make A Soul For One

I have to make a soul for one
Who lost his soul in childhood's hour.
And I'm not sure—not really sure—
If I have power.
I don't know whether souls are made
With laughter or with faith or pain
But though I fail a thousand times,
I'll try again.

O Little Year, Cram Full Of Duty

O little year, cram full of duty,
Rapture and sorrow, too,
Show me the way from old paths of beauty
Into the fields of dew.
Strange lorn fields where the moon goes riding
Over a lonely sky.
Kind little year, in your onward gliding
Let me not pass them by.

Closing Time: Public Library

At ten o'clock the great gong sounds its dread
Prelude to splendour. I push back my chair,
And all the people leave their books. We flock,
Still acquiescent, down the marble stair
Into the dark where we can't read. And thought
Swoops down insatiate through the starry air.

Into old rhyme
The new words come but shyly.
Here's a brave man
Who sings of commerce dryly.
Swift-gliding cars
Through town and country winging,
Like cigarettes,
Are deemed unfit for singing.
Into old rhyme
New words come tripping slowly.
Hail to the time
When they possess it wholly.

Cherry Plum Blossom In An Old Tin Jug

Cherry plum blossom in an old tin jug —
Oh, it is lovely, beautiful and fair,
With sun on it and little shadows mixed
All in among the fragrant wonder there.
Cherry plum blossom on the workroom bench
Where we can see it all our working hours.
In all my garden days of ladyhood,
I never met girls who so loved sweet flowers.

Each Morning I Pass On My Way To Work

Each morning I pass on my way to work
A clock in a tower
And I look towards it with anxious eyes
To make sure of the hour.
But the sun gets up at the back of the tower
With a flare and a blaze
Hiding the time and the tower from my sight
In a blissful haze.
'I am the marker of time' says the sun.
Taken unawares,
I believe for the nonce he is lord of the day
And am rid of my cares.

Learning Geography

They have a few little hours
To study the world—
Its lovely absence of clouds,
Or the thunderbolts hurled
By hidden powers—
All the soft shapes of the vales
And the trees of the north
They dream of a minute, no longer,
No longer—then forth
Ere the year fails
To cities where carnival glows
Or the furnace is bright.
So is measured or leisured
According as teachers dispose
Their cosmic delight.

Today Is Rebels' Day. And Yet We Work

Today is rebels' day. And yet we work—
All of us rebels, until day is done.
And when the stars come out we celebrate
A revolution that's not yet begun.
Today is rebels' day. And men in jail
Tread the old mill-round until day is done.
And when night falls they sit alone to brood
On revolution that's not yet begun.
Today is rebels' day. Let all of us
Take courage to fight on until we're done—
Fight though we may not live to see the hour
The Revolution's splendidly begun.

This Year I Have Seen Autumn With New Eyes

This year I have seen autumn with new eyes,
Glimpsed hitherto undreamt of mysteries
In the slow ripening of the town-bred trees;
Horse-chestnut lifting wide hands to the skies;
And silver beech turned gold now winter's near;
And elm, whose leaves like little suns appear
Scattering light — all, all have made me wise
And writ me lectures in earth's loveliness,
Whether they laugh through the grey morning mist,
Or by the loving sun at noon are kissed
Or seek at night the high-swung lamp's caress.
Does autumn such a novel splendour wear
Simply because my love has yellow hair?

Machinist Talking

I sit at my machine,
Hour long beside me Vera aged nineteen,
Babbles her sweet and innocent tale of sex.

Her boy, she hopes, will prove
Unlike his father in the act of love,
Twelve children are too many for her taste.

She looks sidelong, blue-eyed
And tells a girlish story of a bride
With the sweet licence of Arabian queens.

Her child, she says, saw light
Minute for minute, nine months from the night
The mother first lay in her lover’s arms.

She says a friend of hers
Is a man’s mistress who gives jewels and furs
But will not have her soft limbs cased in stays.

Oh, oh Rosalie,
Oh, oh Rosalie,
What would you have of me?
Oh, oh Rosalie.
I have kisses fine,
I have kisses fine.
Will you take kiss of mine?
Oh, oh Rosalie.
I have dreams in store,
I have dreams in store,
Fine spun as lace of yore.
Oh, oh Rosalie.
Many a mighty thought,
Many a mighty thought
By men of old time wrought
Is mine, Rosalie.
I have golden days,
I have golden days,
Green trees, and leafy ways.
Oh, oh Rosalie.
I have tears for you,
I have tears for you,
And roses filled with dew.
Oh, oh Rosalie.
Oh, oh Rosalie,
What do you want of me?
You would have nought of me.
Oh, oh Rosalie.

The Psychological Craze

I in the library,
Looking for books to read,
Pulled one out twice to see
If it fulfilled my need.
Butler had written this
Which of the Butlers, then?
I opened it to see.
He's an old general
Mounted upon a horse.
Thinkers don't write their lives,
But soldiers can, of course.
They write: 'The regiment
Was sent to Omdurman,
Where Gordon died. To catch
The Mahdi was our plan.'
Later—'The bride wore white
And she had golden hair.
Four bridesmaids bore her train
Up to the altar where
His Grace of Birmingham'—
It's the old rigmarole,
Names, facts and dates—no word
In this about the soul.
No dreams, no sin, no tears!
Only the body thrives.
Upon such worthless things
Great soldiers base their lives.
No wonder wars are fought.
Loss of such life is small,
Life bound to space and time,
Not infinite at all.

Lawstudent And Coach

Each day I sit in an ill-lighted room
To teach a boy;
For one hour by the clock great words and dreams
Are our employ.
We read St Agnes' Eve and that more fair
Eve of St Mark
At a small table up against the wall
In the half-dark.
I tell him all the wise things I have read
Concerning Keats.
'His earlier work is overfull of sense
And sensual sweets.'
I tell him all that comes into my mind
From God-knows-where,
Remark, 'In English poets Bertha's type
Is jolly rare.
She's a real girl that strains her eyes to read
And cricks her neck.
Now Madeline could pray all night nor feel
Her body's check.
And Bertha reads, p'rhaps the first reading girl
In English rhyme.'
It's maddening work to say what Keats has said
A second time.
The boy sits sideways with averted head.
His brown cheek glows.
I like his black eyes and his sprawling limbs
And his short nose.
He, feeling, dreads the splendour of the verse,
But he must learn
To write about it neatly and to quote
These lines that burn.
He drapes his soul in my obscuring words,
Makes himself fit
To go into a sunny world and take
His part in it.
'Examiners' point of view, you know,' say I,
'Is commonsense.
You must sift poetry before you can
Sift Evidence.'

Do You Remember Still The Little Song

Do you remember still the little song
I mumbled on the hill at Aura, how
I told you it was made for Katie's sake
When I was fresh from school and loving her
With all the strength of girlhood? And you said
You liked my song, although I didn't know
How it began at first and gabbled then
In a half voice, because I was too shy
To speak aloud, much less to speak them out —
Words I had joined myself — in the full voice
And with the lilt of proper poetry.
You could have hardly heard me. Here's the girl,
The little girl from school you never knew.
She made this song. Read what you couldn't hear.
How bright the windows are
When the dear sun shineth.
They strive to reflect the sun,
To be bright like the sun,
To give heat like the sun.
My heart too has its chosen one
And so to shine designeth.
The windows on the opposite hill that day
Shone bright at sunset too and made me think
Of the old patter I had half forgot,
Do you remember? I remind you now,
Who wandered yesterday for half an hour
Into St Francis, where I thought of you
And how I would be glad to love you well
If I but knew the way. The rhyme came back
Teasing me till I knew I hated it.
I couldn't take that way of loving you.
That was the girl's way. Hear the woman now.
Out of my thinking in the lonely church
And the day's labour in a friendly room
Tumbled a song this morning you will like.
I love my love
But I could not be
Good for his sake.
That frightens me.
Nor could I do
Such things as I should
Just for the sake
Of being good.
Deeds are too great
To serve my whim,
Be ways of loving
Myself or him.
Whether my deeds
Are good or ill
They're done for their own,
Not love's sake, still.
I didn't know it till the song was done
But that's Ramiro in a nutshell, eh,
With his contempt for individual souls
And setting of the deed above the man.
Perhaps I like him better than I thought,
Or would like, if he'd give me leave to scorn
Chameleon, adjectival good and ill
And set the deed so far above the man
As to be out of reach of morals too.
There you and I join issue once again.