A child said, What is the grass

A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full
hands;
How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it
is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful
green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,
Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we
may see and remark, and say Whose?

Or I guess the grass is itself a child. . . .the produced babe
of the vegetation.


A Death-Bed

1918


This is the State above the Law.
The State exists for the State alone."
[This is a gland at the back of the jaw,
And an answering lump by the collar-bone.]


Some die shouting in gas or fire;
Some die silent, by shell and shot.
Some die desperate, caught on the wire -
Some die suddenly. This will not.

"Regis suprema voluntas Lex"
[It will follow the regular course of--throats.]
Some die pinned by the broken decks,
Some die sobbing between the boats.


A Counting-Out Song

What is the song the children sing,
When doorway lilacs bloom in Spring,
And the Schools are loosed, and the games are played
That were deadly earnest when Earth was made?
Hear them chattering, shrill and hard,
After dinner-time, out in the yard,
As the sides are chosen and all submit
To the chance of the lot that shall make them "It."
(Singing) "Eenee, Meenee, Mainee, Mo!
Catch a nigger by the toe!
(If he hollers let him go!)
Eenee, Meenee. Mainee, Mo!
You-are-It!"


A Charm

Take of English earth as much
As either hand may rightly clutch.
In the taking of it breathe
Prayer for all who lie beneath.
Not the great nor well-bespoke,
But the mere uncounted folk
Of whose life and death is none
Report or lamentation.
Lay that earth upon thy heart,
And thy sickness shall depart!

It shall sweeten and make whole
Fevered breath and festered soul.
It shall mightily restrain
Over-busied hand and brain.
It shall ease thy mortal strife
'Gainst the immortal woe of life,


A Ballade of Jakko Hill

One moment bid the horses wait,
Since tiffin is not laid till three,
Below the upward path and straight
You climbed a year ago with me.
Love came upon us suddenly
And loosed -- an idle hour to kill --
A headless, armless armory
That smote us both on Jakko Hill.

Ah Heaven! we would wait and wait
Through Time and to Eternity!
Ah Heaven! we could conquer Fate
With more than Godlike constancy
I cut the date upon a tree --
Here stand the clumsy figures still:
"10-7-85, A.D."


Greek Title

Long have I framed weak phantasies of Thee,
   O Willer masked and dumb!
   Who makest Life become, -
As though by labouring all-unknowingly,
   Like one whom reveries numb.

How much of consciousness informs Thy will
   Thy biddings, as if blind,
   Of death-inducing kind,
Nought shows to us ephemeral ones who fill
   But moments in Thy mind.

Perhaps Thy ancient rote-restricted ways
   Thy ripening rule transcends;
   That listless effort tends


A Dying Tigermoaned for Drink

566

A Dying Tiger—moaned for Drink—
I hunted all the Sand—
I caught the Dripping of a Rock
And bore it in my Hand—

His Mighty Balls—in death were thick—
But searching—I could see
A Vision on the Retina
Of Water—and of me—

'Twas not my blame—who sped too slow—
'Twas not his blame—who died
While I was reaching him—
But 'twas—the fact that He was dead—


A Farewell To C.E.G

My fairest child, I have no song to give you;
No lark could pipe in skies so dull and gray;
Yet, if you will, one quiet hint I'll leave you,
For every day.

I'll tell you how to sing a clearer carol
Than lark who hails the dawn or breezy down;
To earn yourself a purer poet's laurel
Than Shakespeare's crown.

Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever;
Do lovely things, not dream them, all day long;
And so make Life, and Death, and that For Ever,
One grand sweet song.


A Farewell

I

My fairest child, I have no song to give you;
No lark could pipe to skies so dull and grey:
Yet, ere we part, one lesson I can leave you
For every day.

II

Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever;
Do noble things, not dream them, all day long:
And so make life, death, and that vast for-ever
One grand, sweet song.


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