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Poem by Charles Hamilton Sorley

East Kennet Church at Evening

I stood amongst the corn, and watched
     ⁠The evening coming down.
The rising vale was like a queen,
⁠     And the dim church her crown.

Crown-like it stood against the hills.
     ⁠Its form was passing fair.
I almost saw the tribes go up
⁠     To offer incense there.

And far below the long vale stretched.
⁠     As a sleeper she did seem
That after some brief restlessness
⁠     Has now begun to dream.

(All day the wakefulness of men,
     ⁠Their lives and labours brief,
Have broken her long troubled sleep.
     ⁠Now, evening brings relief.)

There was no motion there, nor sound.
     ⁠She did not seem to rise.
Yet was she wrapping herself in
     ⁠Her grey of night-disguise.

For now no church nor tree nor fold
     ⁠Was visible to me:
Only that fading into one
⁠     Which God must sometimes see.

No coloured glory streaked the sky
     ⁠To mark the sinking sun.
There was no redness in the west
     ⁠To tell that day was done.

Only, the greyness of the eve
     ⁠Grew fuller than before.
And, in its fulness, it made one
     ⁠Of what had once been more.

There was much beauty in that sight
⁠     That man must not long see.
God dropped the kindly veil of night
     ⁠Between its end and me. 

24 July 1913

Charles Hamilton Sorley

Charles Hamilton Sorley's other poems:
  1. Le Revenant
  2. There Is Such Change in All Those Fields
  3. In Memoriam S. C. W., V.C.
  4. The Seekers
  5. Peer Gynt

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