^ . . ,
r; ll^ •^; §:, •^; S'
* ^ .^^
^)r # V -^
^' -n ^/ 2.345
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2007 with funding from
This is the ninth book issued by the Beaumont Press
and the fifth printed by hand 30 copies have been
printed on Japanese vellum signed by the author and
artist and numbered i to 30 50 copies on cartridge
paper numbered 31 to 80 and 120 copies on hand-made
paper numbered 81 to 200
A BOOK OF POEMS
THE MEDITATION OF A LOVER ^^^
1 can just see the distant trees ... 9
Pine needles cover the silent ground : . 10
We scurry over the pastures . . . 11
Shrill green weeds . . . . . 12
Grotesque patterns of blue-grey mould . 1 3
To the fresh wet fields . . , . 14
His russet coat and gleaming axe . . 15
The waggons loom like blue caravans . 16
THE AUTUMN OF THE WORLD
As a host of bloodflecked clouds . . 17
Like a faun my head uplifted . . . 18
The years come with their still perspective, 19
ON THE HEATH
White humours veining Earth, . . 23
I have assumed a conscious sociability, . 24
Above the vibrant town, . . , 25
That white hand poised . . . . 26
CHAMP DE MANCEUVRES
This hill indents my soul . . 27
I will make this girl a bed of ferns
Life so brief
We walked mutely
THE SORROW OF UNICUME
Fresh in the flush light gleam
The dark steep roofs chisel
THE AUTUMN OF THE WORLD
AS A HOST of blood-flecked clouds
skim the golden sky
and melt in the vermilioned vastness
There comes borne on a wind
from the infinite womb of chaos
the dank wafture of decay.
Over the eternal waters of the sea
that weep and find no solace of their cares
Lethargic vultures flock and swirl
and fill the echoes with their gloomy cries.
Cold winds from arctic zones
the transient things of earth :
The last yellow leaves
fall on the iridescent sward :
The wind dies
and the summer voices are forever quiet.
LIKE A FAUN my head uplifted
In delicate mists :
And breaking on my soul
Tremulous waves that beat and cling
To yellow leaves and dark green hills
Bells in the autumn evening.
THE YEARS COME with their still perspective,
enveloping the past in the light of romance.
The old elm trees flock round the tiled farmstead and
their silver-bellied leaves dance in the wind. Beneath
their shade, and in the corner of the green, is a pond.
In winter it is full of water, green with various weeds:
and in Spring a lily will open in its centre.
The ducks waddle in the mud and sail in circles round
the pond, or preen their feathers on the bank.
But in Summer the pond is dry, and its bed is glossy
and baked by the sun, of a beautiful soft colour like
the skins of the moles they catch and crucify on the
On the green the fowls pick grains, or chatter and
fight. Their yellows, whites and browns, the metallic
lustre of their darker feathers, and the crimson splash
of their combs make an everchanging pattern on the
They drink with spasmodic upreaching necks by the
side of the well.
Under the stones by the well live green lizards curious
to our eves.
And the path from the well leads to a garden door
set in the high wall whereon grow plums and apricots.
The door is deep and narrow and opens on to paths
bordered with box-hedges ; one path leads through
the aromatic currant bushes, beneath the plum-trees,
to the lawn where grows the wonder of our day-dreams,
the monkey's-puzzle tree. On the other side of the
lawn three fir-trees rise sharply to the sky, their dark
shades homing a few birds.
And beyond is the orchard, and down its avenues of
mould-smitten trees the path leads to the paddocks,
with their mushrooms and fairy-rings, and to the flat-
lands stretching till the girding hills complete our
But on a hill-top, cut clean against a sunrise, is the
figure of a child, full of an impatient gesture.
THE FARM is distant from the high-road
half a mile;
The child of the farm
does not realise it for several years ;
He wanders through the orchard,
finds mushrooms in the paddock,
or beetles in the pond.
But one day he goes to the high-road,
sees carts and carriages pass,
and men go marketing.
A traction-engine crashes into his vision
with flame and smoke,
and makes his eager soul retreat.
He turns away :
The huntsmen are galloping over the fields,
Their red coats and the swift whimpering hcunds,
ON THE HEATH
WHITE HUMOURS veining Earth,
The lymphic winds of Spring
Veil an early morning
When on the hill
Men in cool sleeves dig the soil,
Turning the loam or acrid manure
With gripes that clink on stones.
Silently horses speed on the sandy track.
Lithe in white sweaters
Two runners lean against a fountain. .
I HAVE ASSUMED a conscious sociability,
Pressed unresponding hfands,
And chattered aimlessly
When my eyes lit at the sight
Of a scarlet spider
Running over the bright
Green mould of an apple-tree.
THE MEDITATION OF A LOVER
I CAN JUST SEE the distant trees
And I wonder whether they will
Or will not
Bow their tall plumes at your passing
In the carriage of the morning wind:
Or whether they will merely
Tremble against the cold dawnlight,
Shaking a yellow leaf
to the dew-wet earth.
PINE NEEDLES cover the silent ground
pine trees chancel the woodland ways.
We penetrate into the dark depths
Where only garlic and hemlock grow
Till we meet the blue stream
Cleaving the green
Twilight like a rhythmic sword.
WE SCURRY over the pastures
chasing the windstrewn oak-leaves.
the fresh petals of cowslips and primroses.
We discover frog-spawn in the wet ditch.
SHRILL GREEN WEEDS
float on the black pond.
A rising fish
ripples the still water
And disturbs my soul.
GROTESQUE patterns of blue-grey mould
Cling to my barren apple-trees:
But in spring
Pale blossoms burst like little flowers
Along black wavering twigs:
Rains wash the cold frail petals
Downfallinor like tremulous flakes
Even within my heart.
TO THE FRESH WET FIELDS
and the white
froth of flowers
Came the wild errant
swallows with a scream.
nninuHIITmr ii ii M i ii ii miit i n
HIS RUSSET COAT and gleaming axe
In the blue glades.
The wild birds sing ;
But the woodman he broods
In the blue glades.
The waggons loom like blue caravans in the duskf
They lumber mysteriously down the moonlit lanes.
We ride on the stacks of rust gold corn,
Filling the sky with our song.
The horses toss their heads and the harness-bells
Jingle all the way.
ABOVE the vibrant town,
Above its dull clamour,
Roofs like ragged blades
Break into the moist golden glow
With mosaic of lustreful tiles
And slates that gleam
The first pale stars will soon illume
The dying scene till sole
Ethereal silhouettes pierce the gloom
THAT WHITE HAND poised
Above the ivory keys
Will soon descend to
The equable surface of my reverie.
To what abortion
Will the silence give birth ?
Noon of moist heat and the moan
Of raping beeSy
And light like a sluice of molten gold
On the satiatCy petitioning leaves.
In yellow fieUs ,
Mute agony of reapers.
Does the metallic horizon
Give release ?
against the wider void the immaculate
angels of lust
on the swanbreasts of heaven.
CHAMP DE MANCEUVRES
THIS HILL INDENTS my soul
So that I saor
Like a silver mist about its flanks.
In the golden setting of the sun,
While on the plain
The illumined mists invade
Leaf-burdened trees. . .
Champ de Manoeuvres
The silent tides of melting light
Assail the hill, imbue
My errant soul.
Mine empty body broods
One with the inanimate rocks . . .
The last red rays are fierce and irritant.
Then wakes my body on the lonely hill,
Gathering to its shell my startled soul.
I WILL MAKE this girl a bed of ferns
Beneath the trees,
And she shall come to me naked and shy in the
And when I kneel to kiss her body
Faunish I will be aware of its human scent
Mingled with the resin odours of the shrouded wood
As salt in tears.
We will be silent in the world ;
And if she think good
We will go down to the green pool
To lie with our bellies on the cool grass
And drink together.
The flying beetles and the bats
And the birds drowsy in the branches
Shall be our companions.
The sheep in the open fields
Shall see our white bodies
glimmering in the woodland dusk.
LIFE SO BRIEF . . .
Yet I am old
with an era of grief.
The earth unveils
a sad nakedness
And her hills
droop round my sorrow.
Into the stillness
living things scream,
And only the nerveless dead
From the funereal mould
Late asters blaspheme.
^ — ~— !r^ ^*"^^
' - • _^^
^^F^ ^sM', ^:
WE WALKED MUTELY
over black moors
where gray walls crawl
Sinuously into still horizons.
I was mute —
only to unfurl
In the germination of your mood.
But you called gray rain
to slake my heart :
You called gray mist
over the black moors.
We passed black altars of rock,
Two mute, processional, docile Christs
Amid the unheeding
THE SORROW OF UNICUME
FRESH in the flush light gleam
the slape new furrows :
ride the clean horizon rib
lithe Unicume and his roan team.
Man moulded with Earth — ^
like clay uprisen :
his whistling mingles
with the throstle's this even.
Inward from furtive woods
the stretched light stains :
end-toil star now broods
deeming resthaven due.
Unyoked the roan team
garthward he leads :
hooves beat to harness clink ;
the swollen sun bleeds.
When alone, Unicume
seeks his darkening dale.
Yoyi my white garden-rail —
Heart's tomb within !
The Sorrow of Unicume
He lifts latch to the quiet room
where yet it seems she breathes :
he kneels to take her stark hands
in caress mute with the gloom.
" Draw the casement ; let me see
last light without y
Ah, fierce the white, white stars to hurt,
their beauty a wild shout.
Retch of flower scent, lush decay
among time-burdened shrubs.
And near and shallowly buried lay
love once enfleshed, now fled.
Harsh my heart is,
scalded with grief :
my life a limp
White flower unfeeling^
you star the mould :
my livid heart enfold.
THE dark steep roofs chisel
The infinity of the sky :
But the white moonlit gables
Still hands at prayer.
HERE ENDS ECLOGUES A BOOK OF POEMS
by Herbert Read The Cover and the Decorations
designed by Ethelbert White The Typography
and Binding arranged by Cyril W. Beaumont
Printed by hand on his Press at 75 Charing
Cross Road in the City of Westminster
Completed December the Twentieth
C. W. Beaumont
^ # '^^/^ -^^
• ^» "^TJ^