Songs of the Common Day, and Ave!

An Ode for the Shelley Centenary

by Charles G.D. Roberts


 

THE WINTER FIELDS


 

WINDS here, and sleet, and frost that bites like steel.
     The low bleak hill rounds under the low sky.
     Naked of flock and fold the fallows lie,
Thin streaked with meagre drift. The gusts reveal
By fits the dim grey snakes of fence, that steal
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     Through the white dusk. The hill-foot poplars sigh,
     While storm and death with winter trample by,
And the iron fields ring sharp, and blind lights reel.

Yet in the lonely ridges, wrenched with pain,
     Harsh solitary hillocks, bound and dumb,

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Grave glebes close-lipped beneath the scourge and chain,
     Lurks hid the germ of ecstasy—the sum
Of life that waits on summer, till the rain
     Whisper in April and the crocus come.