John Freeman

John Freeman Poems

Let me not see your grief!
O, let not any see
That grief,
Nor how your heart still rocks

Than these November skies
Is no sky lovelier. The clouds are deep;
Into their grey the subtle spies
Of colour creep,

There is not anything more wonderful
Than a great people moving towards the deep
Of an unguessed and unfeared future; nor

It was a day
All blue and lifting white,
When I went into the fields with Frank
To fly his kite.

Hateful it seems now, yet was I not happy?
Starved of the things I loved, I did not know
I loved them, and was happy lacking them.

Against the cold pale sky
The elm tree company rose high.
All the fine hues of day
That flowered so bold had died away.

Bind up, bind up your dark bright hair
And hide the smouldering sunken fire.
Let it be held no more than fair,

Wild heart, wild heart,
Where does the wind find home?
Wild heart, wild heart,

Far off a lonely hound
Telling his loneliness all round
To the dark woods, dark hills, and darker sea;

It was the lovely moon--she lifted
Slowly her white brow among
Bronze cloud-waves that ebbed and drifted
Faintly, faintlier afar.


Just as this wood, cast on the snaky fire,
Crushes the curling heads till smoke is thickened
And the ash sinks beneath the billet's weight,

Music comes
Sweetly from the trembling string
When wizard fingers sweep
Dreamily, half asleep;

In a great western wind we climbed the hill
And saw the clouds run up, ride high and sink;
And there were shadows running at our feet

Beneath the trees with heedful step and slow
At night I go,
Fearful upon their whispering to break
Lest they awake

For so long and so long had I forgot,
Serenely busied
With thousand things; at whiles desire grew hot
And my soul dizzied

The dead white on the fields' dead white
Turned the peace to misery.
Tall bony trees their wild arms thrust

Within the greenhouse dim and damp
The heat floats like a cloud.
Pale rose-leaves droop from the rust roof
With rust-edged roses bowed.

The tall slaves bow if that capricious King
But glances as he passes;
Their dark hoods drawing over abashed faces
They bow humbly, unappealingly.

When I had dreamed and dreamed what woman's beauty was,
And how that beauty seen from unseen surely flowed,

O, what insect is it
That burrows in the heart and frets
The heart's near nerves,
Leaving its unclean

John Freeman Biography

John Frederick Freeman, (29 January 1880 – 23 September 1929), was an English poet and essayist, who gave up a successful career in insurance to write full time. He was born in London, and started as an office boy aged 13. He was a close friend of Walter de la Mare from 1907, who lobbied hard with Edward Marsh to get Freeman into the Georgian Poetry series; with eventual success. De la Mare's biographer Theresa Whistler describes him as "tall, gangling, ugly, solemn, punctilious". He won the Hawthornden Prize in 1920 with Poems 1909-1920. His Last Hours was set to music by Ivor Gurney.)

The Best Poem Of John Freeman

Not With These Eyes

Let me not see your grief!
O, let not any see
That grief,
Nor how your heart still rocks
Like a temple with long earthquake shocks.
Let me not see
Your grief.

These eyes have seen such wrong,
Yet remained cold:
Ills grown strong,
Corruption's many-headed worm
Destroying feet that moved so firm--
Shall these eyes see
Your grief?

And that black worm has crawled
Into the brain
Where thought had walked
Nobly, and love and honour moved as one,
And brave things bravely were begun....
Now, can thought see
Unabashed your grief?

Into that brain your grief
Has run like cleansing fire:
Your grief
Through these unfaithful eyes has leapt
And touched honour where it lightly slept.
Now when I see
In memory your grief

There is no thought that's not
Yours, yours,
No love that sleeps,
No spiritual door that opens not
In the green quiet village of thought
Shining with light,
And silent to your silence.

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