I Have Read in the Book of the Butcher Boy (In Time of War)
I have read in the book of the butcher boy, William of Avon,
Of the deathless thyme; I have read of the wild thyme growing.
Be patient, gypsy, and we shall seek for that place.
We shall set our house there on that fragrant hill,
Deathless too, over the thyme-sweet stream,
With a road as brown and clean as an autumn leaf
Passing beside it for friendly feet to tread.
No mouse will lurk there, or fourteen-legged bug
Trespass its comers as in a lesser house.
No pug-nosed dog will snarl from its lawns, but a gentle,
Sad-eyed and shaggy-eared being as wise as Buddha
Will sit magisterial on the porch to guard us
From villain and bore. Never will hoarse old rooster
Raise up his odious cry at dawn to wake us:
A small red bird on a limb by our window will be
The bell of morning for us through the long years.
And we shall look down at the brown road to see
The butcher boy pass there idling upon his wheel
As butcher boys do, whistling a lilt to life;
The postman will pass there and other wise men also.
Sons will come to us there through the long years.
We shall grow old but mist and road and stream,
In that coign of things, will give us youth eternal,
By the happy thyme of the fragrant butcher boy's singing.
Copyright © by the Estate of Hyam Plutzik. All rights reserved.