Memory

When summer heat has drowsed the day
With blaze of noontide overhead,
And hidden greenfinch can but say
What but a moment since it said;
When harvest fields stand thick with wheat,
And wasp and bee slave — dawn till dark —
Nor home, till evening moonbeams beat,
Silvering the nightjar’s oaken bark:
How strangely then the mind may build
A magic world of wintry cold,
Its meadows with frail frost flowers filled —
Bright-ribbed with ice, a frozen wold! …

When dusk shuts in the shortest day,
And huge Orion spans the night;
Where antlered fireflames leap and play
Chequering the walls with fitful light —
Even sweeter in mind the summer’s rose
May bloom again; her drifting swan
Resume her beauty; while rapture flows
Of birds long since to silence gone:
Beyond the Nowel, sharp and shrill,
Of Waits from out the snowbound street,
Drums to their fiddle beneath the hill
June’s mill wheel where the waters meet …

O angel Memory that can
Double the joys of faithless Man!

by Walter de la Mare

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