Charlotte Mew

C
Charlotte Mew
The Cenotaph
Not yet will those measureless fields be green again
Where only yesterday the wild sweet blood of wonderful youth was shed;
There is a grave whose earth must hold too long, too deep a stain,
Though for ever over it we may speak as proudly as we may tread.
But here, where the watchers by lonely hearths from the thrust of an inward sword have more slowly bled,
We shall build the Cenotaph: Victory, winged, with Peace, winged too, at the column's head.
And over the stairway, at the foot—oh! here, leave desolate, passionate hands to spread
Violets, roses, and laurel with the small sweet twinkling country things
Speaking so wistfully of other Springs
From the little gardens of little places where son or sweetheart was born and bred.
In splendid sleep, with a thousand brothers
To lovers—to mothers
Here, too, lies he:
Under the purple, the green, the red,
It is all young life: it must break some women's hearts to see
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The Fête
To-night again the moon’s white mat
Stretches across the dormitory floor
While outside, like an evil cat
The pion prowls down the dark corridor,
Planning, I know, to pounce on me, in spite
For getting leave to sleep in town last night.
But it was none of us who made that noise,
Only the old brown owl that hoots and flies
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Fin de Fête
Sweetheart, for such a day
One mustn’t grudge the score;
Here, then, it’s all to pay,
It’s Good-night at the door.

Good-night and good dreams to you,—
Do you remember the picture-book thieves
Who left two children sleeping in a wood the long night through,
And how the birds came down and covered them with leaves?
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From a Window
Up here, with June, the sycamore throws
Across the window a whispering screen;
I shall miss the sycamore more, I suppose,
Than anything else on this earth that is out in green.
But I mean to go through the door without fear,
Not caring much what happens here
When I’m away:—
How green the screen is across the panes
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Ken
The town is old and very steep
A place of bells and cloisters and grey towers,
And black-clad people walking in their sleep—
A nun, a priest, a woman taking flowers
To her new grave; and watched from end to end
By the great Church above, through the still hours:
But in the morning and the early dark
The children wake to dart from doors and call
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Madeleine in Church
Here, in the darkness, where this plaster saint
Stands nearer than God stands to our distress,
And one small candle shines, but not so faint
As the far lights of everlastingness,
I’d rather kneel than over there, in open day
Where Christ is hanging, rather pray
To something more like my own clay,
Not too divine;
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Not for That City
Not for that city of the level sun,
Its golden streets and glittering gates ablaze—
The shadeless, sleepless city of white days,
White nights, or nights and days that are as one—
We weary, when all is said , all thought, all done.
We strain our eyes beyond this dusk to see
What, from the threshold of eternity
We shall step into. No, I think we shun
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The Farmer’s Bride

Three summers since I chose a maid,
Too young maybe—but more’s to do
At harvest-time than bide and woo.
When us was wed she turned afraid
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Rooms
I remember rooms that have had their part
In the steady slowing down of the heart.
The room in Paris, the room at Geneva,
The little damp room with the seaweed smell,
And that ceaseless maddening sound of the tide—
Rooms where for good or for ill—things died.
But there is the room where we (two) lie dead,
Though every morning we seem to wake and might just as well seem to sleep again
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Saturday Market
Bury your heart in some deep green hollow
Or hide it up in a kind old tree;
Better still, give it the swallow
When she goes over the sea.

In Saturday’s Market there’s eggs a ’plenty
And dead-alive ducks with their legs tied down,
Grey old gaffers and boys of twenty—
Girls and the women of the town—
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The Trees are Down
—and he cried with a loud voice:
Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees—
(Revelation) They are cutting down the great plane-trees at the end of the gardens.
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