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    William H. Davies

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    Thunderstorms

      My mind has thunderstorms,
      That brood for heavy hours:
      Until they rain me words;
      My thoughts are drooping flowers
      And sulking, silent birds.

      Yet come, dark thunderstorms,
      And brood your heavy hours;
      For when you rain me words,
      My thoughts are dancing flowers
      And joyful singing birds.


    The Mind's Liberty

      The mind, with its own eyes and ears,
      May for these others have no care;
      No matter where this body is,
      The mind is free to go elsewhere.
      My mind can be a sailor, when
      This body's still confined to land;
      And turn these mortals into trees,
      That walk in Fleet Street or the Strand.

      So, when I'm passing Charing Cross,
      Where porters work both night and day,
      I ofttimes hear sweet Malpas Brook,
      That flows thrice fifty miles away.
      And when I'm passing near St Paul's
      I see beyond the dome and crowd,
      Twm Barlum, that green pap in Gwent,
      With its dark nipple in a cloud.


    The Moon

      Thy beauty haunts me heart and soul,
      O, thou fair Moon, so close and bright;
      Thy beauty makes me like the child
      That cries aloud to own thy light:
      The little child that lifts each arm
      To press thee to her bosom warm.

      Though there are birds that sing this night
      With thy white beam across their throats,
      Let my deep silence speak for me
      More than for them their sweetest notes:
      Who worships thee till music fails,
      Is greater than thy nightingales.


    When on a Summer's Morn

      When on a summer's morn I wake,
      And open my two eyes,
      Out to the clear, born-singing rills
      My bird-like spirit flies.

      To hear the Blackbird, Cuckoo, Thrush,
      Or any bird in song;
      And common leaves that hum all day
      Without a throat or tongue.

      And when Time strikes the hour for sleep,
      Back in my room alone,
      My heart has many a sweet bird's song --
      And one that's all my own.


    A Great Time

      Sweet Chance, that led my steps abroad,
           Beyond the town, where wild flowers grow --
      A rainbow and a cuckoo, Lord,
           How rich and great the times are now!
      Know, all ye sheep
      And cows, that keep
      On staring that I stand so long
           In grass that's wet from heavy rain --
      A rainbow and a cuckoo's song
           May never come together again;
      May never come
      This side the tomb.


    The Hawk

      Thou dost not fly, thou art not perched,
      The air is all around:
      What is it that can keep thee set,
      From falling to the ground?
      The concentration of thy mind
      Supports thee in the air;
      As thou dost watch the small young birds,
      With such a deadly care.

      My mind has such a hawk as thou,
      It is an evil mood;
      It comes when there's no cause for grief,
      And on my joys doth brood.
      Then do I see my life in parts;
      The earth receives my bones,
      The common air absorbs my mind --
      It knows not flowers from stones.


    Sweet Stay-at-Home

      Sweet Stay-at-Home, sweet Well-content,
      Thou knowest of no strange continent;
      Thou hast not felt thy bosom keep
      A gentle motion with the deep;
      Thou hast not sailed in Indian seas,
      Where scent comes forth in every breeze.
      Thou hast not seen the rich grape grow
      For miles, as far as eyes can go:
      Thou hast not seen a summer's night
      When maids could sew by a worm's light;
      Nor the North Sea in spring send out
      Bright hues that like birds flit about
      In solid cages of white ice --
      Sweet Stay-at-Home, sweet Love-one-place,
      Thou hast not seen black fingers pick
      White cotton when the bloom is thick,
      Nor heard black throats in harmony;
      Nor hast thou sat on stones that lie
      Flat on the earth, that once did rise
      To hide proud kings from common eyes.
      Thou hast not seen plains full of bloom
      Where green things had such little room
      They pleased the eye like fairer flowers --
      Sweet Stay-at-Home, all these long hours.
      Sweet Well-content, sweet Love-one-place,
      Sweet, simple maid, bless thy dear face;
      For thou hast made more homely stuff
      Nurture thy gentle self enough;
      I love thee for a heart that's kind --
      Not for the knowledge in thy mind.


    A Fleeting Passion

      Thou shalt not laugh, thou shalt not romp,
      Let's grimly kiss with bated breath;
      As quietly and solemnly
      As Life when it is kissing Death.
      Now in the silence of the grave,
      My hand is squeezing that soft breast;
      While thou dost in such passion lie,
      It mocks me with its look of rest.

      But when the morning comes at last,
      And we must part, our passions cold,
      You'll think of some new feather, scarf
      To buy with my small piece of gold;
      And I'll be dreaming of green lanes,
      Where little things with beating hearts
      Hold shining eyes between the leaves,
      Till men with horses pass, and carts.


    The Bird of Paradise

      Here comes Kate Summers, who, for gold,
      Takes any man to bed:
      "You knew my friend, Nell Barnes," she said;
      "You knew Nell Barnes -- she's dead.

      "Nell Barnes was bad on all you men,
      Unclean, a thief as well;
      Yet all my life I have not found
      A better friend than Nell.

      "So I sat at her side at last,
      For hours, till she was dead;
      And yet she had no sense at all
      Of any word I said.

      "For all her cry but came to this --
      'Not for the world! Take care:
      Don't touch that bird of paradise,
      Perched on the bed-post there!'

      "I asked her would she like some grapes,
      Som damsons ripe and sweet;
      A custard made with new-laid eggs,
      Or tender fowl to eat.

      "I promised I would follow her,
      To see her in her grave;
      And buy a wreath with borrowed pence,
      If nothing I could save.

      "Yet still her cry but came to this --
      'Not for the world! Take care:
      Don't touch that bird of paradise,
      Perched on the bed-post there!' "


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