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Sonnet Reversed

  • Hand trembling towards hand; the amazing lights 
  • Of heart and eye. They stood on supreme heights. 
  • Ah, the delirious weeks of honeymoon! 
  • Soon they returned, and, after strange adventures, 
  • Settled at Balham by the end of June. 
  • Their money was in Can. Pacs. B. Debentures, 
  • And in Antofagastas. Still he went 
  • Cityward daily; still she did abide 
  • At home. And both were really quite content 
  • With work and social pleasures. Then they died. 
  • They left three children (besides George, who drank): 
  • The eldest Jane, who married Mr. Bell, 
  • William, the head-clerk in the County Bank, 
  • And Henry, a stock-broker, doing well. 

Town and Country

  • Here, where love’s stuff is body, arm and side
  • Are stabbing-sweet ‘gainst chair and lamp and wall.
  • In every touch more intimate meanings hide;
  • And flaming brains are the white heart of all.
  • Here, million pulses to one centre beat:
  • Closed in by men’s vast friendliness, alone,
  • Two can be drunk with solitude, and meet
  • On the sheer point where sense with knowing’s one.
  • Here the green-purple clanging royal night,
  • And the straight lines and silent walls of town,
  • And roar, and glare, and dust, and myriad white
  • Undying passers, pinnacle and crown
  • Intensest heavens between close-lying faces
  • By the lamp’s airless fierce ecstatic fire;
  • And we’ve found love in little hidden places,
  • Under great shades, between the mist and mire.
  • Stay! though the woods are quiet, and you’ve heard
  • Night creep along the hedges. Never go
  • Where tangled foliage shrouds the crying bird,
  • And the remote winds sigh, and waters flow!
  • Lest -- as our words fall dumb on windless noons,
  • Or hearts grow hushed and solitary, beneath
  • Unheeding stars and unfamiliar moons,
  • Or boughs bend over, close and quiet as death, --
  • Unconscious and unpassionate and still,
  • Cloud-like we lean and stare as bright leaves stare,
  • And gradually along the stranger hill
  • Our unwalled loves thin out on vacuous air,
  • And suddenly there’s no meaning in our kiss,
  • And your lit upward face grows, where we lie,
  • Lonelier and dreadfuller than sunlight is,
  • And dumb and mad and eyeless like the sky. 

Rupert Brooke

Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) was an English poet and one of the leading lights of the poets who made their name writing as soldiers of the First World War, a group that includes Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) and Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967). With a handsome boyish mien, Brooke was the epitome of the young soldier-poet and “flower of England” which died on the battlefields of Europe. Ironically, however, Brooke died during the war, not from gunfire or cannonade, but because of an infected mosquito bite. His death occurred aboard a French hospital ship en route to the bloody Battle of Gallipoli.

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