Every so often we stumble across a little old Faber & Faber paperback book of poetry. . .
I had never read S S before. He blew me away.
I AM banished from the patient men who fight
They smote my heart to pity, built my pride.
Shoulder to aching shoulder, side by side,
They trudged away from life’s broad wealds of light.
Their wrongs were mine; and ever in my sight 5
They went arrayed in honour. But they died,—
Not one by one: and mutinous I cried
To those who sent them out into the night.
The darkness tells how vainly I have striven
To free them from the pit where they must dwell 10
In outcast gloom convulsed and jagged and riven
By grappling guns. Love drove me to rebel.
Love drives me back to grope with them through hell;
And in their tortured eyes I stand forgiven.
From you, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart,
The substance of my dreams took fire.
You built cathedrals in my heart,
And lit my pinnacled desire.
You were the ardour and the bright
Procession of my thoughts toward prayer.
You were the wrath of storm, the light
On distant citadels aflare.
Tight buds of daffodil
Plucked where the wind blew chill
In Lent begun,
Blessed by this well-warmed room
Unsheathe themselves, for whom
The lamp’s their sun.
So, when to prayer I turn
And my dark being discern Life-locked from Thee,
Uuf old it as a flower,
That I may know Thy power