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Town and Country
by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

Here, where love's stuff is body, arm and side
   Are stabbing-sweet 'gainst chair and lamp and wall.
In every touch more intimate meanings hide;
   And flaming brains are the white heart of all.

Here, million pulses to one centre beat:
   Closed in by men's vast friendliness, alone,
Two can be drunk with solitude, and meet
   On the sheer point where sense with knowing's one.

Here the green-purple clanging royal night,
   And the straight lines and silent walls of town,
And roar, and glare, and dust, and myriad white
   Undying passers, pinnacle and crown

Intensest heavens between close-lying faces
   By the lamp's airless fierce ecstatic fire;
And we've found love in little hidden places,
   Under great shades, between the mist and mire.

Stay! though the woods are quiet, and you've heard
   Night creep along the hedges. Never go
Where tangled foliage shrouds the crying bird,
   And the remote winds sigh, and waters flow!

Lest---as our words fall dumb on windless noons,
   Or hearts grow hushed and solitary, beneath
Unheeding stars and unfamiliar moons,
   Or boughs bend over, close and quiet as death,---

Unconscious and unpassionate and still,
   Cloud-like we lean and stare as bright leaves stare,
And gradually along the stranger hill
   Our unwalled loves thin out on vacuous air,

And suddenly there's no meaning in our kiss,
   And your lit upward face grows, where we lie,
Lonelier and dreadfuller than sunlight is,
   And dumb and mad and eyeless like the sky.

 

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