First World War Poetry Digital Archive

If I were to Own


If I were to own this countryside As far as a man in a day could ride, And the Tyes were mine for giving or letting,--- Wingle Tye and Margaretting Tye,---and Skreens, Gooshays, and Cockerells, Shellow, Rochetts, Bandish, and Pickerells, Martins, Lambkins, and Lillyputs, Their copses, ponds, roads, and ruts, Fields where plough-horses steam and plovers Fling and whimper, hedges that lovers Love, and orchards, shrubberies, walls Where the sun untroubled by north wind falls, And single trees where the thrush sings well His proverbs untranslatable, I would give them all to my son If he would let me any one For a song, a blackbird's song, at dawn. He should have no more, till on my lawn Never a one was left, because I Had shot them to put them into a pie,--- His Essex blackbirds, every one, And I was left old and alone.

Then unless I could pay, for rent, a song As sweet as a blackbird's, and as long--- No more---he should have the house, not I: Margaretting or Wingle Tye, Or it might be Skreens, Gooshays, or Cockerells, Shellow, Rochetts, Bandish, or Pickerells, Martins, Lambkins, or Lillyputs, Should be his till the cart tracks had no ruts.

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