Here Lie the Golden Dead
The wood’s breath is rank with death.
December’s sun, north-wind scoured,
Silhouettes the trees,
And showers my sight with molten-metal lights,
Bright enough to burn my room-dulled eyes.
Shadows of the sinewy beech
Like tomb-stones, row-on row,
Fall across their progeny
The fallen dead.
I tread a carpet, bronzed, deep piled,
To read their epitaph.
I know it well, this burial-place,
I know these words by heart;
“Here lie the golden dead
Dear to April’s mind.
Bud, cuckoo, solstice, fall,
All but silence, fled.”
And in this cemetery peace,
Memory weaves from mind-stuff all that was and is to be;
As the trees’ breath,
Touched by a shuttered sun,
Rises like a wraith from where the wood first sprang, chanting;