Foxdale Camp: Canto 7: Saturday (Second)


1. Flown is the week; our sojourn nears its end!
In a few hours the laughing mountain stream
Will pass the empty place, no more to wend
Through frothy bubbles and the white soap cream
Where we did wash, but with an angry gleam
Will smite the rocks and rush in anger sped
Over the fall to rise again in steam
And flow towards the sea, a sullen red,
Singing no more that lay, its erstwhile spirits fled!

2. The trees droop now, in solemn stillness bend,
No more they sweep the earth, no more they croon
Where the night breezes a low zephyr send,
A lullaby to earth beneath the moon.
Thy stand death-still. The path with leaf is strewn,
But not a leaf falls now. All, all is still
And cold and dark amid this sunny noon.
Each bough is pointing to the distant hill
Where we shall go, not to return, perhaps, until

3. Some distant future. Of us there may be
Those who will not return again to hear
The streamlet’s song, the trees’ low croon, nor see
These loved retreats! The very grass is drear.
The birds sing not to charm a list’ner’s ear
Upon the mournful branch their heart-felt song;
And all conspire to bring us little cheer
As we take down the tent, undo each thong
And sorrowfully roll it up, a bundle long.

4. Blankets are rolled and laid upon the grass.
Boxes are tied, and cases safely locked.
What he had feared has surely come to pass,
And trees and flowers and birds, they all have mocked
Us in our plight; they can remain, slow rocked
In this green cradle, while we to return
Into the streets are doomed, to be new shocked
By noisy traffic and bright lights that burn
Far in the night. Then for thee, dale, we all shall yearn.

5. Nothing is missed, and all is packed and tight.
I seek the Eagle Farm and there I thank
The jovial farmer for our pretty site,
Cornered in sloping lea with river flank,
Nestling on grassy lawn ‘neath grassy bank.
Leave him goodbye, and thus to Haidee’s house,
Only her brother Ginnath of long shank
Is home; return the lamp, his hand espouse,
Wave him farewell – see van – haste others to arouse.

6. Can mortal man taste of more bitter dregs
Than those left in the cup that none can fill
Again? No matter how the parched tongue begs
No further drop is poured. No human skill
Can e’er replace the wine, nor all the will
And force of memory recall the past.
A week it was, but who can say? The will
Of days and weeks and years grinds on: at last
Powdered to dust it flies, to winds of oblivion cast!

November, 1929.