By Charles Sorley

THIS field is almost white with stones
That cumber all its thirsty crust.
And underneath, I know, are bones,
And all around is death and dust.

And if you love a livelier hue-
O, if you love the youth of year,
When all is clean and green and new,
Depart. There is no summer here.

Albeit, to me there lingers yet
In this forbidding stony dress
The impotent and dim regret
For some forgotten restlessness.

Dumb, imperceptibly astir,
These relics of an ancient race,
These men, in whom the dead bones were
Still fortifying their resting-place.

Their field of life was white with stones;
Good fruit to earth they never brought.
O, in these bleached and buried bones
Was neither love nor faith nor thought.

But like the wind in this bleak place,
Bitter and bleak and sharp they grew,
And bitterly they ran their race;
A brutal, bad, unkindly crew:

Souls like the dry earth, hearts like stone,
Brains like that barren bramble-tree:
Stern, sterile, senseless, mute, unknown--
But bold, O, bolder far than we!

14 July 1913
Sunday, May 19th, 2024