First World War Poetry Digital Archive

House and Man

HOUSE AND MAN by EDWARD THOMAS

One hour: as dim he and his house now look As a reflection in a rippling brook, While I remember him; but first, his house. Empty is sounded. 'Twas dark with forest boughs That brushed the walls and made the mossy tiles Part of the squirrels' track. In all those miles Of forest silence and forest murmur, only One house---'Lonely,' he said, 'I wish it were lonely'--- Which the trees looked upon from every side, And that was his.

            He waved good-bye to hide

A sigh that he converted to a laugh. He seemed to hang rather than stand there, half Ghost-like, half like a beggar's rag, clean wrung And useless on the brier where it has hung Long years a-washing by sun and wind and rain. But why I call back man and house again Is there now a beech-tree's tip I see As then I saw---I at the gate, and he In the house darkness,---magpie veering about, A magpie like a weathercock in doubt.

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