First World War Poetry Digital Archive

February Afternoon


Men heard this roar of parleying starlings, saw, A thousand years ago even as now, Black rooks with white gulls following the plough So that the first are last until a caw Commands that last are first again,---a law Which was of old when one, like me, dreamed how A thousand years might dust lie on his brow Yet thus would birds do between hedge and shaw.

Time swims before me, making as a day A thousand years, while the broad ploughland oak Roars mill-like and men strike and bear the stroke Of war as ever, audacious or resigned, And God still sits aloft in the array That we have wrought him, stone-deaf and stone-blind.

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