Short leave


I have glimpsed England – England once again!
To me the gods have granted ere I die
Sights that can be England’s only: I
Must call them back once more tho’ thought be pain:
The Kentish orchards, white with half-grown sheep,
The weighted hop-poles and the stately corn
A-curtseying to children whiter than the morn –
England’s children, coming down to reap!

So lovely England live; what is my life?
Still will she fire men’s souls and watch them go
To death for her with laughing lips and glad,
And thus do I return to join the strife –
More mighty impulses I feel – and lo!
More strong my arm – e’en tho’ my heart more sad.


From ‘The Evening Standard’ newspaper


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