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Poem by John Davidson


The Last Journey


I felt the world a-spinning on its nave, 
    I felt it sheering blindly round the sun; 
I felt the time had come to find a grave: 
    I knew it in my heart my days were done. 
I took my staff in hand; I took the road, 
And wandered out to seek my last abode. 
	Hearts of gold and hearts of lead 
	    Sing it yet in sun and rain, 
	Heel and toe from dawn to dusk, 
	    Round the world and home again.

O long before the bere was steeped for malt, 
    And long before the grape was crushed for wine, 
The glory of the march without a halt, 
    The triumph of a stride like yours and mine 
Was known to folk like us, who walked about, 
To be the sprightliest cordial out and out! 
	Folk like us, with hearts that beat, 
	    Sang it too in sun and rain   
	 Heel and toe from dawn to dusk, 
	    Round the world and home again.

My feet are heavy now, but on I go, 
    My head erect beneath the tragic years. 
The way is steep, but I would have it so; 
    And dusty, but I lay the dust with tears, 
Though none can see me weep: alone I climb 
The rugged path that leads me out of time   
	Out of time and out of all, 
	    Singing yet in sun and rain, 
	Heel and toe from dawn to dusk, 
	    Round the world and home again.

Farewell the hope that mocked, farewell despair 
    That went before me still and made the pace. 
The earth is full of graves, and mine was there 
    Before my life began, my resting-place; 
And I shall find it out and with the dead 
Lie down for ever, all my sayings said   
	Deeds all done and songs all sung, 
	    While others chant in sun and rain, 
	Heel and toe from dawn to dusk, 
	    Round the world and home again.



John Davidson


John Davidson's other poems:
  1. Kinnoull Hill
  2. A Northern Suburb
  3. Song of a Train
  4. A Cinque Port
  5. To the Generation Knocking at the Door


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