Of Cruelty - Poem by Ivor Gurney
From the racked substance of the earth comes the plant and
That with heat and the night frost is tortured:
To some perfection that grows, man's thoughts wills his hand —
Roots rent, crown broken, grub holed, it is drawn upward.
A hundred things since the first stir have hunted it,
The rooks any time might have swallowed ungrateful,
Caterpillars, slugs, as it grew, have counted on it,
And man the planter bent his gaze down on it fateful.
The thing will go to market, it must be picked up and loaded,
The salesman will doubt it or chuck it anyway in,
A horse must be harnessed first, or a donkey goaded
Before the purchaser may ever the first price pay for it.
Who may be now trembling with vast impatience
And anxieties and mixed hopes for a resurrection
Out of the mouldering soul — to be new form, have perfections
Of flowers and petal and blade, to die, to be born to clean action.
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