Sydney Thompson Dobell

(1824-1874 / England)

Home, Wounded - Poem by Sydney Thompson Dobell

Wheel me into the sunshine,
Wheel me into the shadow,
There must be leaves on the woodbine,
Is the king-cup crowned in the meadow?


Wheel me down to the meadow,
Down to the little river,
In sun or in shadow
I shall not dazzle or shiver,
I shall be happy anywhere,
Every breath of the morning air
Makes me throb and quiver.


Stay wherever you will,
By the mount or under the hill,
Or down by the little river:
Stay as long as you please,
Give me only a bud from the trees,
Or a blade of grass in morning dew,
Or a cloudy violet clearing to blue,
I could look on it for ever.


Wheel, wheel thro' the sunshine,
Wheel, wheel thro' the shadow;
There must be odours round the pine,
There must be balm of breathing kine.
Somewhere down in the meadow.
Must I choose? Then anchor me there
Beyond the beckoning poplars, where
The larch is snooding her flowery hair
With wreaths of morning shadow.


Among the thicket hazels of the brake
Perchance some nightingale doth shake
His feathers, and the air is full of song;
In those old days when I was young and strong,
He used to sing on yonder garden tree,
Beside the nursery.
Ah. I remember how I loved to wake,
And find him singing on the self-same bough
(I know it even now)
Where, since the flit of bat,
In ceaseless voice he sat,
Trying the spring night over, like a tune,
Beneath the vernal moon;
And while I listed long,
Day rose, and still he sang,
And all his stanchless song,
As something falling unaware,
Fell out of the tall trees he sang among,
Fell ringing down the ringing morn, and rang-
Rang like a golden jewel down a golden stair.


Is it too early? I hope not.
But wheel me to the ancient oak,
On this side of the meadow;
Let me hear the raven's croak
Loosened to an amorous note
In the hollow shadow.
Let me see the winter snake
Thawing all his frozen rings
On the bank where the wren sings.
Let me hear the little bell,
Where the red-wing, top-mast high,
Looks toward the northern sky,
And jangles his farewell.
Let us rest by the ancient oak,
And see his net of shadow,
His net of barren shadow,
Like those wrestlers' nets of old,
Hold the winter dead and cold,
Hoary winter, white and cold,
While all is green in the meadow.


And when you've rested, brother mine,
Take me over the meadow;
Take me along the level crown
Of the bare and silent down,
And stop by the ruined tower.
On its green scarp, by and by,
I shall smell the flowering thyme,
On its wall the wall-flower.


In the tower there used to be
A solitary tree.
Take me there, for the dear sake
Of those old days wherein I loved to lie
And pull the melilote,
And look across the valley to the sky,
And hear the joy that filled the warm wide hour
Bubble from the thrush's throat,
As into a shining mere
Rills some rillet trebling clear,
And speaks the silent silver of the lake.
There mid cloistering tree-roots, year by year,
The hen-thrush sat, and he, her lief and dear,
Among the boughs did make
A ceaseless music of her married time,
And all the ancient stones grew sweet to hear,
And answered him in the unspoken rhyme
Of gracious forms most musical
That tremble on the wall
And trim its age with airy fantasies
That flicker in the sun, and hardly seem
As if to be beheld were all,
And only to our eyes
They rise and all,
And fall and rise,
Sink down like silence, or a-sudden stream
As wind-blown on the wind as streams a wedding-chime.


But you are wheeling me while I dream,
And we've almost reached the meadow!
You may wheel me fast thro' the sunshine,
You may wheel me fast thro' the shadow,
But wheel me slowly, brother mine,
Thro' the green of the sappy meadow;
For the sun, these days have been so fine,
Must have touched it over with celandine,
And the southern hawthorn, I divine,
Sheds a muffled shadow.


There blows
The first primrose,
Under the bare bank roses:
There is but one,
And the bank is brown,
But soon the children will come down,
The ringing children come singing down,
To pick their Easter posies,
And they'll spy it out, my beautiful,
Among the bare brier-roses;
And when I sit here again alone,
The bare brown bank will be blind and dull,
Alas for Easter posies!
But when the din is over and gone,
Like an eye that opens after pain,
I shall see my pale flower shining again;
Like a fair star after a gust of rain
I shall see my pale flower shining again;
Like a glow-worm after the rolling wain
Hath shaken darkness down the lane
I shall see my pale flower shining again;
And it will blow here for two months more,
And it will blow here again next year,
And the year past that, and the year beyond;
And thro' all the years till my years are o'er
I shall always find it here.
Shining across from the bank above,
Shining up from the pond below,
Ere a water-fly wimple the silent pond,
Or the first green weed appear.
And I shall sit here under the tree,
And as each slow bud uncloses,
I shall see it brighten and brighten to me,
From among the leafing brier-roses,
The leaning leafing roses,
As at eve the leafing shadows grow,
And the star of light and love
Draweth near o'er her airy glades,
Draweth near thro' her heavenly shades,
As a maid thro' a myrtle grove.
And the flowers will multiply,
As the stars come blossoming over the sky,
The bank will blossom, the waters blow,
Till the singing children hitherward hie
To gather May-day posies;
And the bank will be bare wherever they go,
As dawn, the primrose-girl, goes by,
And alas for heaven's primroses!


Blare the trumpet, and boom the gun,
But, oh, to sit here thus in the sun,
To sit here, feeling my work is done,
While the sands of life so golden run,
And I watch the children's posies,
And my idle heart is whispering
'Bring whatever the years may bring,
The flowers will blossom, the birds will sing,
And there'll always be primroses.'


Looking before me here in the sun,
I see the Aprils one after one,
Primrosed Aprils one by one,
Primrosed Aprils on and on,
Till the floating prospect closes
In golden glimmers that rise and rise,
And perhaps are gleams of Paradise,
And perhaps-too far for mortal eyes-
New years of fresh primroses,
Years of earth's primroses,
Springs to be, and springs for me
Of distant dim primroses.


My soul lies out like a basking hound,
A hound that dreams and dozes;
Along my life my length I lay,
I fill to-morrow and yesterday,
I am warm with the suns that have long since set,
I am warm with the summers that are not yet,
And like one who dreams and dozes
Softly afloat on a sunny sea,
Two worlds are whispering over me,
And there blows a wind of roses
From the backward shore to the shore before,
From the shore before to the backward shore,
And like two clouds that meet and pour
Each thro' each, till core in core
A single self reposes,
The nevermore with the evermore
Above me mingles and closes;
As my soul lies out like the basking hound,
And wherever it lies seems happy ground,
And when, awakened by some sweet sound,
A dreamy eye uncloses,
I see a blooming world around,
And I lie amid primroses-
Years of sweet primroses,
Springs of fresh primroses,
Springs to be, and springs for me
Of distant dim primroses.


Oh to lie a-dream, a-dream,
To feel I may dream and to know you deem
My work is done for ever,
And the palpitating fever
That gains and loses, loses and gains,
And beats the hurrying blood on the brunt of a thousand pains
Cooled at once by that blood-let
Upon the parapet;
And all the tedious taskèd toil of the difficult long endeavour
Solved and quit by no more fine
Than these limbs of mine,
Spanned and measured once for all
By that right hand I lost,
Bought up at so light a cost
As one bloody fall
On the soldier's bed,
And three days on the ruined wall
Among the thirstless dead.
Oh to think my name is crost
From duty's muster-roll;
That I may slumber tho' the clarion call,
And live the joy of an embodied soul
Free as a liberated ghost.
Oh to feel a life of deed
Was emptied out to feed
That fire of pain that burned so brief a while-
That fire from which I come, as the dead come
Forth from the irreparable tomb,
Or as a martyr on his funeral pile
Heaps up the burdens other men do bear
Thro' years of segregated care,
And takes the total load
Upon his shoulders broad,
And steps from earth to God.


Oh to think, thro' good or ill,
Whatever I am you'll love me still;
Oh to think, tho' dull I be,
You that are so grand and free,
You that are so bright and gay,
Will pause to hear me when I will,
As tho' my head were gray;
And tho' there's little I can say,
Each will look kind with honour while he hears.
And to your loving ears
My thoughts will halt with honourable scars,
And when my dark voice stumbles with the weight
Of what it doth relate
(Like that blind comrade-blinded in the wars-
Who bore the one-eyed brother that was lame),
You'll remember 'tis the same
That cried 'Follow me,'
Upon a summer's day;
And I shall understand with unshed tears
This great reverence that I see,
And bless the day-and Thee,
Lord God of victory!


And she,
Perhaps oh even she
May look as she looked when I knew her
In those old days of childish sooth,
Ere my boyhood dared to woo her.
I will not seek nor sue her,
For I'm neither fonder nor truer
Than when she slighted my love-lorn youth,
My giftless, graceless, guinealess truth,
And I only lived to rue her.
But I'll never love another,
And, in spite of her lovers and lands,
She shall love me yet, my brother!
As a child that holds by his mother,
While his mother speaks his praises,
Holds with eager hands,
And ruddy and silent stands
In the ruddy and silent daisies,
And hears her bless her boy,
And lifts a wondering joy,
So I'll not seek nor sue her,
But I'll leave my glory to woo her,
And I'll stand like a child beside,
And from behind the purple pride
I'll lift my eyes unto her,
And I shall not be denied.
And you will love her, brother dear,
And perhaps next year you'll bring me here
All thro' the balmy April-tide,
And she will trip like spring by my side,
And be all the birds to my ear.
And here all three we'll sit in the sun,
And see the Aprils one by one,
Primrosed Aprils on and on,
Till the floating prospect closes
In golden glimmers that rise and rise,
And perhaps, are gleams of Paradise,
And perhaps, too far for mortal eyes,
New springs of fresh primroses,
Springs of earth's primroses,
Springs to be and springs for me,
Of distant dim primroses.


Comments about Home, Wounded by Sydney Thompson Dobell

There is no comment submitted by members..



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010



[Report Error]