Robert Graves

(1895 - 1985 / London / England)

The Cool Web - Poem by Robert Graves

Children are dumb to say how hot the day is,
How hot the scent is of the summer rose,
How dreadful the black wastes of evening sky,
How dreadful the tall soldiers drumming by.

But we have speech, to chill the angry day,
And speech, to dull the rose's cruel scent.
We spell away the overhanging night,
We spell away the soldiers and the fright.

There's a cool web of language winds us in,
Retreat from too much joy or too much fear:
We grow sea-green at last and coldly die
In brininess and volubility.

But if we let our tongues lose self-possession,
Throwing off language and its watery clasp
Before our death, instead of when death comes,
Facing the wide glare of the children's day,
Facing the rose, the dark sky and the drums,
We shall go mad no doubt and die that way.

Comments about The Cool Web by Robert Graves

  • Rob Taylor (10/15/2018 5:15:00 AM)

    The wide glare of the children's day- that line has stayed with me from when I first read it nearly sixty years ago. (Report)Reply

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  • Matt Johnston (4/19/2008 3:26:00 PM)

    This is a very ambitious poem. But Graves manages to succeed in capturing something quite fascinating. (Report)Reply

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Read poems about / on: rose, children, sky, summer, death, green, joy, fear, sea, dark, night, soldier, child, lost, wind

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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