28 MAY 1921, Page 13




Musrna upon imperishable things, Honour and love and sorrow, as I walked I came where water murmured of the hills That flow down from the shoulders of the north Into the shimmering green pool of the sea. The unsteady water ran from the hill-shadows, Itself a frightened shadow hurrying on Into the starry clearness of May meads All green and gold and sweet with opening buds. The dew danced briefly between dusk and sun, But when the willow branches gave no shade Save to the sleeping fin beneath the banks, The rising wood waved " Come !"

Thon I passed in, Plunging through sodden leaves and winter mire That tardy May dried not, and leapt into A sudden lake of blue—all sweet and heat And wavering light—tall bluebells sunny dappled Whose pale green stems and folded buds and bells Shaking out hue and odour drew the mind Down into deep delights, to lie there swaying Like amber weed fmgored by every tido. . . . Faded those three grave visitants as I sank— Honour and love and sorrow—and I watched Their shadows slow withdrawing through a thin Spinney beyond the shining lake. The boughs Raking above netted the azure sky

And snared the clotids that turned and broke away Torn by the branches or the fretting wind. So cloud and leaf and air and light and bird Flowed over me as I swayed sunken deep, An idle wood fingered by every tide. It was a nightingale above my head

Answering a nightingale unseen but near, It was a nightingale that called me from That sunken streaming of the sensual tide, With notes like syllables in the silent mind In silent night uttering things dear or sad. But that unseen bird answered with the voice Of smarting love, and crying : "Kiss me now And bid all thoughts begone but thoughts of joys Born of my lips ! " Yes, it was anxious love Stealing the voice of that hid nightingale And quickening sleepy memories with each note Till the notes failed.

Then the first singer poured His song anew, pure, fresh, sustained—as though Water-like it might fall all day, all night Renewed, renewing. And I, listening, saw

Again those three shades from the spinney come—

Honour and love and sorrow—listening too While that wild singer uttered yet his notes So quick, and ranging wide 'tween earth and heaven, That only thought could follow (even as shadow Follows the flying feet of light from lake

To Tol green hollow of the couched hills)—

Then paused, and called and ceased.

How common seemed That shining pool as I brushed by and shook The shady dews from bonded bells and snapped Heedless the stems ! The nightingale was .gone, And I pressed musing through the beamy wood, And with me those three shadows whispering One to another words that I could hear, Half understanding. Jonat FREEMAN.