First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Over The Brazier

OVER THE BRAZIER by ROBERT GRAVES

What life to lead and where to go After the War, after the War? We'd often talked this way before. But I still see the brazier glow That April night, still feel the smoke And stifling pungency of burning coke.

I'd thought: 'A cottage in the hills, North Wales, a cottage full of books, Pictures and brass and cosy nooks And comfortable broad window-sills, Flowers in the garden, walls all white. I'd live there peacefully and dream and write.'

But Willie said: 'No, Home's no good: Old England's quite a hopeless place, I've lost all feeling for my race: But France has given my heart and blood Enough to last me all my life, I'm off to Canada with my wee wife.

'Come with us, Mac, old thing,' but Mac Drawled: 'No, a Coral Isle for me, A warm green jewel in the South Sea. There's merit in a lumber shack, And labour is a grand thing...but--- Give me my hot beach and my cocoanut.'

So then we built and stocked for Willie His log-hut, and for Mac a calm Rock-a-bye cradle on a palm--- Idyllic dwellings---but this silly Mad War has now wrecked both, and what Better hopes has my little cottage got?

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