All day it has rained, and we on the edge of the moors
Have sprawled in our bell-tents, moody and dull as boors,
Groundsheets and blankets spread on the muddy ground
And from the first grey wakening we have found
No refuge from the skirmishing fine rain.
And the wind that made the bell-tents heave and flap
And the taut wet guy ropes ravel out and snap,
All day the rain has glided, wave and mist and dream,
Drenching the gorse and heather, a gossamer stream
Too light to move the acorns that suddenly
Snatched from their cups by the wild southwesterly
Patted against the tent and our up-turned dreaming faces.
And we stretched out, unbuttoning our braces,
Smoking a woodbine, darning dirty socks,
Reading the Sunday papers – I saw a fox,
And mentioned it in the note I scribbled home –
And we talked of girls and dropping bombs on Rome.
And thought of the quiet dead and the loud celebrities
Exhorting us to slaughter and the herded refugees,
Yet thought softly, morosely of them, and as indifferently
As of ourselves and those whom we for years
Have loved and will again.
Tomorrow may be love – but now it is the rain
Possesses us, the darkness and the rain.
And I can remember nothing clearer or more to my heart,
Than the children I watched in the woods on Saturday
Shaking down burning chestnuts for the school-yard’s merry play,
Or the shaggy patient dog who followed me
Through sheet and steep and up the wooded scree
To the Shoulder o’ Mutton, where Edward Thomas brooded long
On death and beauty till a bullet stopped his song.
Alun Lewis (1916 – 1944)
In Memoriam (Easter 1915)
The flowers left thick at nightfall in the wood
This Eastertide call into mind the men,
Now far from home, who, with their sweethearts, should
Have gathered them and will do never again.
Edward Thomas (1878 – 1917)