The Great War

from A Crown of Amaranth, an electronic edition

On the Moss: War Time.

LOUDLY, like the plash of blood

In murder's ears that seek to close

At night in thickets tenanted

By the fear of God,

Drip the berries of the guelder rose-

More than with September red.

And the rowans in the wood

Are as ravaged maidenhood,

Swaying, swaying overhead.

Through the rain upon the moss,

Evening on disorient wings

Falls from out disgodded skies,

Falls as one who comes across

An end of all the holier things.

What was wealth to poor men's eyes,

Day's last gold, has gone to dross.

Darkness has a voice of loss

Lonelier than owl-cries.

In the peat pots looking down,

One wet star on the black water

Seems to watch if aught may swim

Watch if aught may drown.

And whether as with eyes of slaughter

Or of tears, red and dim,

Her rays put forth, may not be known,

But by them a dead face is shown

Christ's, as they murdered him.

(The Poetry Review