Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.
Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!
Or is it only the breeze in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?
Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.
That night your great guns, unawares, Shook all our coffins as we lay, And broke the chancel window-squares, We thought it was the Judgement-day And sat upright. While drearisome Arose the howl of wakened hounds: The mouse let fall the altar-crumb, The worm drew back into the mounds, The glebe cow drooled. Till God cried, "No; It's gunnery practice out at sea Just as before you went below; The world is as it used to be: "All nations striving strong to make Red war yet redder. Mad as hatters They do no more for Christés sake Than you who are helpless in such matters. "That this is not the judgment-hour For some of them's a blessed thing, For if it were they'd have to scour Hell's floor for so much threatening. . . . "Ha, ha. It will be warmer when I blow the trumpet (if indeed I ever do; for you are men, And rest eternal sorely need)." So down we lay again. "I wonder, Will the world ever saner be," Said one, "than when He sent us under In our indifferent century!" And many a skeleton shook his head. "Instead of preaching forty year," My neighbour Parson Thirdly said, "I wish I had stuck to pipes and beer." Again the guns disturbed the hour, Roaring their readiness to avenge, As far inland as Stourton Tower, And Camelot, and starlit Stonehenge.