Edith Nesbit

(15 August 1858 – 4 May 1924 / Kennington / Surrey / England)

August - Poem by Edith Nesbit

LEAVE me alone, for August's sleepy charm
Is on me, and I will not break the spell;
My head is on the mighty Mother's arm:
I will not ask if life goes ill or well.
There is no world!--I do not care to know
Whence aught has come, nor whither it shall go.


I want to wander over pastures still,
Where sheared white sheep and mild-eyed cattle graze;
To climb the thymy, clover-covered hill,
To look down on the valley's hot blue haze;
And on the short brown turf for hours to lie
Gazing straight up into the clear, deep sky,


I want to walk through crisp gold harvest fields,
Through meadows yellowed by the August heat;
To loiter through the cool dim wood, that yields
Such perfect flowers and quiet so complete--
The happy woods, where every bud and leaf
Is full of dreams as life is full of grief.


I want to think no more of all the pain
That in the city thrives, a poison flower--
The eternal loss, the never-coming gain,
The lifelong woe--the joy that lives an hour,
Bright, evanescent as the dew that dawn
Shows on this silent, wood-encircled lawn.


I want to pull the honey-bud that twines
About the blackberries and gold-leaf sloes;
To part the boughs where the rare water shines,
Tread the soft bank whereby the bulrush grows--
I want to be no more myself, but be
Made one with all the beauty that I see.


Oh, happy country, myriad voiced and dear,
I have no heart, no eyes, except for you;
Yours are the only voices I will hear,
Yours is the only bidding I will do:
You bid me be at peace, and let alone
That loud, rough world where peace is never known.


Yet through your voices comes a sterner cry,
A voice I cannot silence if I would;
It mars the song the lark sings to the sky,
It breaks the changeful music of the wood.
'Back to your post--a charge you have to keep--
Freedom is bleeding while her soldiers sleep.'


Oh, heart of mine I have to carry here,
Will you not let me rest a little while?--
A space 'mid doubtful fight and doubtful fear--
A little space to see the Mother's smile,
To stretch my hands out to her, and possess
No sense of aught but of her loveliness?


Ah, just this power to feel how she is fair
Means just the power to see how foul life is.
How can I linger in the sacred air
And taste the pure wine of the dear sun's kiss
When in the outer dark my brothers moan,
Nor even guess the joys that I have known?


Back the least soldier goes! To jar and fret,
To hope uncrowned--faith tried--love wounded sore--
To prayers that never have been answered yet,
To dreams that must be dreams for evermore;
To all that, after all, is far more dear
Than all the joys of all the changing year.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 19, 2010



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