The Spike Golden Jubilee Number May 1949
This night alone the pines are still
And the wind will not stir
One bird's light plumage where
It sleeps. And hardly even fall.
From the hedges garbled night-time
Murmurs of song. Clouds
Stand over trees like crowds
Of mourners. Over the near hill climb.
The shattered towers of trees
Beneath the sullen sky
Life, breath and movement die.
The sleeping bird is utterly at peace.
At evening this metallic lake will yield
Reluctant beauty to the determined tourist
Gazing from the bank in shorts and sandals,
Or fish to fishermen, to those who stand
Eight in a row within the slanting sunlight,
Knee-deep in water, taking on her nature,
Or, on its long and wandering shore will lease
Enchanted bays to caravanning couples,
Parcelled in campments, tree's remove from neighbours,
And finally, for those in car and bus,
Parched by the dusty roads and tired by travel
She'll give the last hotel for ninety miles.
Two candles lit a gleaming autumn room.
Remnants of coffee-cups, and a tall bright jug,
The silver candlesticks, lent to the gloom
The light of resting apples, the finely spun
Glimmer of cool stored wine. Out in the day
Rain fell, and branches, while the low sky pressed
These and the room to the near anonymous clay
Where all is quietness and told in hushed
Bright whispers. There as the smoke disturbed
The glossy ceiling, we were like gnomes who drank
A wine of silence, underneath a hill. To speak
The lovely words, the weighty ponderous words
Echoed but the timely earth, and stepped
Past sorrow to the delicate ways of death.
W. H. Oliver