29 MARCH 1940, Page 14


0 situ., still, still As I stand here, for one more moment a golden shudder Glides over the landscape. It runs up over the hill And pours its noiseless cataract over the maple trees.

It hangs suspended. It glitters upon these wet brown faces, And the arms, and the dazzling sickle, and the sickled sheaves, And the horses, and the maple trees. I watch them, but remain Remote. I shall never bring good or harm to these flowering Girls, or the golden-wristed men, or the golden sheaves of grain.

The evil implicit in our age lies scattered everywhere. Even in these flowing, flickering sheaves of wheat I see it. I see it in a swinging lantern, even, or a kitchen chair.

For that is all our fever. It is a fever of the spirit, And it lies deep. It will heal again, but certainly not soon. We cannot localise it, we cannot even see or hear it— The smart, efficient, petrifying flavours of our age Lie scattered all around us, not only in the lies and bullets, But here, in the hot touch of a hand, or the turning of a page.

And still, being young, being lucky, as I stand here and the maples Gather the autumn stillness in their massive natural arms, And the horses scarcely move, and the wheat falls, and the ripples Of a wild and timeless brilliance cover these faces, 0 still For one more moment I declare that whatever is living is love, In some way, however hidden ; and I lean out, I fill My eyes and ears with this so soon to be forgotten day, I call out your name ; but of course there is no answer, It was only that, being lonely, there was something I longed to say.

And now the moment is gone, the illumination, the terror, Have gone. Life lies below me as motionless and as clear And hard as the reflection of a crisis in a mirror: And calmly I watch. I think, as I watch these sheaves of grain, Stagnant, deserted, drowned in the blue autumn twilight, Of a time when grief will assume her lucid forms again ; I think of the little old men crouching beside the waters And cursing, and the women passing with their vermilion bowls, The stony silence of the sons, and the wailing of the