Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

Bullington - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

It was in the high midsummer, and the sun was shining strong,
And the lane was rather flinty, and the lane was rather long,
When - up and down the gentle hills beside the stripling Test -
I chanced to come to Bullington and stayed a while to rest.

It was drowned in peace and quiet, as the river reeds are drowned
In the water clear as crystal, flowing by with scarce a sound,
And the air was like a posy with the sweet haymaking smells,
And the roses and Sweet Williams and Canterbury Bells.

Far away as some strange planet seemed the old world's dust and din,
And the trout in sun-warmed shallows hardly seemed to stir a fin;
And there's never a clock to tell you how the hurrying world goes on
In the little ivied steeple down in drowsy Bullington.

Small and sleepy, there it nestled, seeming far from hastening Time
As a teeny-tiny village in some quaint old nursery rhyme;
And a teeny-tiny river by a teeny-tiny weir
Sang a teeny-tiny ditty that I stayed awhile to hear.

'Oh, the stream runs to the river, and the river to the sea,
But the reedy banks of Bullington are good enough for me;
Oh, the lane runs to the highway, and the highway o'er the down,
But it's better here in Bullington than there in London town.'

Then high above an aeroplane in humming flight went by,
With the droning of its engines filling all the cloudless sky,
And like the booming of a knell across the perfect day
There came the gun's dull thunder from the ranges far away.

And while I lay and listened, oh, the river's sleepy tune
Seemed to change its rippling music, like the cuckoo's stave in June;
And the cannon's distant thunder, and the engine's war-like drone
Seemed to mingle with its burthen in a solemn undertone.

'Oh, the stream runs to the river, and the river to the sea,
And there's war on land and water, and there's work for you and me!
On many a field of glory there are gallant lives laid down
As well for tiny Bullington as might London town!'

So I roused me from my daydreams, for I knew the song spoke true
That it isn't time for dreaming while there's duty still to do;
And I turned into the highway where it meets the flinty lane,
And the world of wars and sorrows was about me once again.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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