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Charles Hamilton Sorley (Чарльз Сорли)

Le Revenant

He trod the oft-remembered lane
⁠(Now smaller-seeming than before
⁠When first he left his father's door
For newer things), but still quite plain

(Though half-benighted now) upstood
⁠Old landmarks, ghosts across the lane
⁠That brought the Bygone back again:
Shorn haystacks and the rooky wood;

The guide post, too, which once he clomb
⁠To read the figures: fourteen miles
⁠To Swindon, four to Clinton Stiles,
And only half a mile to home:

And far away the one homestead, where—
⁠Behind the day now not quite set
⁠So that he saw in silhouette
Its chimneys still stand black and bare—

He noticed that the trees were not
⁠So big as when he journeyed last
⁠That way. For greatly now he passed
Striding above the hedges, hot

With hopings, as he passed by where
⁠A lamp before him glanced and stayed
⁠Across his path, so that his shade
Seemed like a giant's moving there.

The dullness of the sunken sun
⁠He marked not, nor how dark it grew,
⁠Nor that strange flapping bird that flew
Above: he thought but of the One....

He topped the crest and crossed the fence,
⁠Noticed the garden that it grew
⁠As erst, noticed the hen-house too
(The kennel had been altered since).

It seemed so unchanged and so still.
⁠(Could it but be the past arisen
⁠For one short night from out of prison?)
He reached the big-bowed window-sill,

Lifted the window sash with care,
⁠Then, gaily throwing aside the blind,
⁠Shouted. It was a shock to find
That he was not remembered there.

At once he felt not all his pain,
⁠But murmuringly apologised,
⁠Turned, once more sought the undersized
Blown trees, and the long lanky lane,

Wondering and pondering on, past where
⁠A lamp before him glanced and stayed
⁠Across his path, so that his shade
Seemed like a giant's moving there.

Charles Hamilton Sorley's other poems:
  1. East Kennet Church at Evening
  2. To Poets
  3. Deus Loquitur
  4. In Memoriam S. C. W., V.C.
  5. J. B.

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