i. Childhood DowN the glimmering staircase, past the pensive clock,
Childhood creeps on tip-toe : fumbles at the lock. Out of night escaping toward the arch of dawn, What can childhood look for, over the wet lawn ?
Standing in the strangeness of that garden air,
Ignorant adventure finds world wonder there ; Miles are more than distance when the cocks are crowing,
And along the valley night's last goods-train going
Tells of earth untravelled and what lies beyond Catching roach and gudgeon in the orchard pond.
2. Past and Present My past has gone to bed. Upstairs in clockless rooms My past is fast asleep. But mindsight reillumes Here in My ruminant head the days where dust lies deep.
Sleep-walkers empty-eyed come strangely -down the stairs. These are my selves—once proud, once passionate with young prayers, Once vehement with vows . . . I know not when they died, Those ignorant selves . . . Meanwhile my self sits brooding here In the house where I was born. Dwindling, they disappear. Me they did not foresee. But in their looks I find Simplicities unlearned long since and left behind.
3. War Experience Degrees of groping thought have taught me to conclude That when a man began in youth to learn truth crude From life in the demented strife and ghastly glooms Of soul-conscripting war, mechanic and volcanic— Not much remains, twelve winters later, of the hater Of purgatorial pains. And somewhat softly booms A Somme bombardment ; almost unbelieved-in looms The day-break sentry staring over Kiel Trench crater.