Tag Archives: Gumbleton English Verse

London in War-Time

EUSTON at last ! The old, pale sunlight falls
Golden athwart the smoky roofs and walls,
Again the well-loved streets and Thames we see,
And five weeks’ mountains are a memory.
There is a glen that nestles in the hills,
Lit by the flashing of unnumbered rills ;
Through it a path goes winding under trees
That gaze unmoved upon the centuries ;
And from the summit the clear sunlight calls
Athwart the undying chuckle of the falls.
Safe at the top I stayed my climb and pondered
Not on the sunlight that divinely wandered
Among the trees and danced upon the stream,
Sighting a fairy lamp at every gleam,
But seeing the branches bending overhead
So like to vaulting well remember├®d,
I felt the gloom and heard the quiet stir
That soothes the tired soul at Westminster.
The young Gods made the country, took delight
In quiet fields and great, calm stars at night.
But then came One who saw with steady soul
That quiet could not be the final goal ;
And He brought men together, made them strive
To hate, to love, to help, in short to live.
God made the Town, and high above the rest
London with all his various gifts he blessed.
But now the posters shriek from every wall,
And false lures call where Honour ought to call ;
In flaunting headlines mixed of lies and spite
The Press most nobly vindicates its right,
‘The Nation’s Voice with its stentorian lungs ;
The Nation seems to have a hundred tongues.
Its tongues are loud ; its boastings high and bold.
Surely the Nation’s heart is worn and old.
Fool, these are straws that shew the flood beneath
Inevitable as night and sure as death.
Are we awake ? See, o’er the darkened sky
The searchlight’s darting and imperious eye.
While down below discreet and scattered lamps
Shew where the lonely ‘Special ‘ stoutly tramps.
Is our heart stirred ? See, when the trains arrive
With erstwhile men now pitifully alive,
The sun’s not up, but London’s daughters are,
That once would shiver at a penknife’s scar ;
Or in the street the brown-clad men go by,
The woman’s prayer, the old man’s wistful sigh,
Mark you them not ? And ever more and more
The pulse beats faster than it beat before ;
Before each bridge and every thick-thronged street
Was trod, ’tis true, with eager, hurrying feet,
But then on different business each was bent,
See, now on every face the one intent ;
The will’s the same, whate’er the work may be,
Each face means fiercely ‘Victory, Victory.’
London before was somewhat hard to find,
Shreds showed themselves to some in every mind ;
Now she is bound together and made whole.
The price is bitter, very hard the toll,
But none may crush her, she has found her soul.


The Elizabethan, November 1915

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