Friday, 1 June 2012

Only the road and the dawn, the sun, the wind, and the rain


Today, 1 June, is the anniversary of the birth of John Masefield in 1878. I haven't read much of Masefield's work (to be fair, there is a lot to read), though 'The West Wind' is my favourite of his mellifluous poems. And here's something else in honour of his birthday - a wanderers' poem.

For something on a similar theme, compare The Song of the Pilgrims.


The Seekers

Friends and loves we have none, nor wealth nor blessed abode,
But the hope of the City of God at the other end of the road.

Not for us are content, and quiet, and peace of mind,
For we go seeking a city that we shall never find.

There is no solace on earth for us - for such as we -
Who search for a hidden city that we shall never see.

Only the road and the dawn, the sun, the wind, and the rain,
And the watch fire under stars, and sleep, and the road again.

We seek the City of God, and the haunt where beauty dwells,
And we find the noisy mart and the sound of burial bells.

Never the golden city, where radiant people meet,
But the dolorous town where mourners are going about the street.

We travel the dusty road till the light of the day is dim,
And sunset shows us spires away on the world's rim.

We travel from dawn to dusk, till the day is past and by,
Seeking the Holy City beyond the rim of the sky.

Friends and loves we have none, nor wealth nor blest abode,
But the hope of the City of God at the other end of the road.


Spires at sunset (Oxford, June 2011)

2 comments:

"Madeleines Meanderings" said...

Wow! Love this poem...
What a picture it paints....

Clerk said...

I know, it's so evocative! It was new to me today and I really like it.