In July

Pale-rose the dust lying thick upon the road:
Grey-green the thirsty grasses by the way.
The long flat silvery sheen of the vast champaign
Shimmers beneath the blazing tide of noon.
The blood-red poppies flame
Like furnace-breaths:
Like wan vague dreams the misty lavender
Drifts greyly through the quivering maze; or seems
Thus through the visionary glow to drift.
On the far slope, beyond the ruin'd arch,
A grey-white cloudlet rests,
The cluster'd sheep alow: close, moveless all,
And silent, save when faintly from their midst
A slumberous tinkle comes,
Cometh, and goeth.
Low-stretch'd in the blue shade,
Beneath the ruin
The shepherd sleeps.
Nought stirs.
The wind moves not, nor with the faintest breath
Toucheth the half-fallen blooms of the asphodels.
Here only, where the pale pink ash
Of the long road doth slowly flush to rose,
A bronze-wing'd beetle moveth low,
And sends one tiny puff of smoke-like dust
Faint through the golden glimmer of the heat.
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