First World War Poetry Digital Archive

To R.N.


(From Frise on the Somme in February 1917, in answer to a letter, saying: 'I am just finishing my "Faun" poem: I wish you were here to feed him with cherries.')

Here by a snow-bound river In scrapen holes we shiver, And like old bitterns we Boom to you plaintively. Robert, how can I rhyme Verses at your desire--- Sleek fauns and cherry-time, Vague music and green trees, Hot sun and gentle breeze, England in June attire, And life born young again, For your gay goatish brute Drunk with warm melody Singing on beds of thyme With red and rolling eye, Waking with wanton lute All the Devonian plain, Lips dark with juicy stain, Ears hung with bobbing fruit? Why should I keep him time? Why in this cold and rime Where even to think is pain? No, Robert, there's no reason; Cherries are out of season, Ice grips at branch and root, And singing birds are mute.

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