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Flight
by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

Voices out of the shade that cried,
   And long noon in the hot calm places,
And children's play by the wayside,
   And country eyes, and quiet faces---
   All these were round my steady paces.

Those that I could have loved went by me;
   Cool gardened homes slept in the sun;
I heard the whisper of water nigh me,
   Saw hands that beckoned, shone, were gone
   In the green and gold. And I went on.

For if my echoing footfall slept,
   Soon a far whispering there'd be
Of a little lonely wind that crept
   From tree to tree, and distantly
   Followed me, followed me. . . .

But the blue vaporous end of day
   Brought peace, and pursuit baffled quite,
Where between pine-woods dipped the way.
   I turned, slipped in and out of sight.
   I trod as quiet as the night.

The pine-boles kept perpetual hush;
   And in the boughs wind never swirled.
I found a flowering lowly bush,
   And bowed, slid in, and sighed and curled,
   Hidden at rest from all the world.

Safe! I was safe, and glad, I knew!
   Yet---with cold heart and cold wet brows
I lay. And the dark fell. . . . There grew
   Meward a sound of shaken boughs;
   And ceased, above my intricate house;

And silence, silence, silence found me. . . .
   I felt the unfaltering movement creep
Among the leaves. They shed around me
   Calm clouds of scent, that I did weep;
   And stroked my face. I fell asleep.

 

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