But for this bird …

But for this bird … I might have arranged it so
That all, though never forgiven, might be forgot –
All that we’ve done, we’ve said – my happy lot
Before she slew me with that stupendous blow.
I did try to arrange it – I did go
Hundreds of miles away, to this dead spot,
Where lies, and truths, and pain might be forgot –
Where nothing would ever remind me, no one would know.

I might – I might have beaten away the gloom –
Carefully nursed my heart, and made it strong:
I might have forgotten my scarcely bearable doom –
Might have forgiven a scarcely forgiveable wrong …
But for this bird … in the branches … outside my room,
Which sings, “Mary, Mary, Mary” … all day long.

Grantchester, 1932

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