First World War Poetry Digital Archive

The Mountain Chapel

THE MOUNTAIN CHAPEL by EDWARD THOMAS

Chapel and gravestones, old and few, Are shrouded by a mountain fold From sound and view Of life. The loss of the brook's voice Falls like a shadow. All they hear is The eternal noise Of wind whistling in grass more shrill Than aught as human as a sword, And saying still: ''Tis but a moment since man's birth, And in another moment more Man lies in earth For ever; but I am the same Now, and shall be, even as I was Before he came; Till there is nothing I shall be.'

Yet there the sun shines after noon So cheerfully The place almost seems peopled, nor Lacks cottage chimney, cottage hearth: It is not more In size than is a cottage, less Than any other empty home In homeliness. It has a garden of wild flowers And finest grass and gravestones warm In sunshine hours The year through. Men behind the glass Stand once a week, singing, and drown The whistling grass Their ponies munch. And yet somewhere Near or far off, there's a man could Live happy here, Or one of the gods perhaps, were they Not of inhuman stature dire, As poets say Who have not seen them clearly, if At sound of any wind of the world In grass-blades stiff They would not starde and shudder cold Under the sun. When Gods were young This wind was old.

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