"Poppies on Ludlow Castle" by Willa Cather
Through halls of vanished pleasure,
And hold of vanished power,
And crypt of faith forgotten,
A came to Ludlow tower.
- A-top of arch and stairway,
- Of crypt and donjan cell,
- Of council hall, and chamber,
- Of wall, and ditch, and well,
- High over grated turrets
- Where clinging ivies run,
- A thousand scarlet poppies
- Enticed the rising sun,
- Upon the topmost turret,
- With death and damp below,--
- Three hundred years of spoilage,--
- The crimson poppies grow.
- This hall it was that bred him,
- These hills that knew him brave,
- The gentlest English singer
- That fills an English grave.
- How have they heart to blossom
- So cruel and gay and red,
- When beauty so hath perished
- And valour so hath sped?
- When knights so fair are rotten,
- And captains true asleep,
- And singing lips are dust-stopped
- Six English earth-feet deep?
- When ages old remind me
- How much hath gone for naught,
- What wretched ghost remaineth
- Of all that flesh hath wrought;
- Of love and song and warring,
- Of adventure and play,
- Of art and comely building,
- Of faith and form and fray--
- I'll mind the flowers of pleasure,
- Of short-lived youth and sleep,
- That drunk the sunny weather
- A-top of Ludlow keep.
I've got Cather on my list (I just committed to The Classics Club) and this poem has me more excited -- I love her use of language -- sort of old-fashioned, but evocative.ReplyDelete
Ah! A poem I can understand. A nice piece to read first thing in the morning. Thank you for sharing!ReplyDelete
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I really need to get my hands on one of this woman's books sometime soon. This is such a beautiful poem.ReplyDelete