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Poem by Charles Hamilton Sorley


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


Charles Hamilton Sorley's other poems:
  1. There Is Such Change in All Those Fields
  2. East Kennet Church at Evening
  3. In Memoriam S. C. W., V.C.
  4. Rooks (There is such cry in all these birds)
  5. Peer Gynt


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