Verse > Anthologies > George Herbert Clarke, ed. > A Treasury of War Poetry
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George Herbert Clarke, ed. (1873–1953).  A Treasury of War Poetry.  1917.
 
88. Home Thoughts from Leventie
 
By E. Wyndham Tennant
 
 
GREEN gardens in Laventie!
Soldiers only know the street
Where the mud is churned and splashed about
    By battle-wending feet;
And yet beside one stricken house there is a glimpse of grass—        5
    Look for it when you pass.
 
Beyond the church whose pitted spire
Seems balanced on a strand
Of swaying stone and tottering brick,
    Two roofless ruins stand;        10
And here, among the wreckage, where the back-wall should have been,
    We found a garden green.
 
The grass was never trodden on,
The little path of gravel
Was overgrown with celandine;        15
    No other folk did travel
Along its weedy surface but the nimble-footed mouse,
    Running from house to house.
 
So all along the tender blades
Of soft and vivid grass        20
We lay, nor heard the limber wheels
    That pass and ever pass
In noisy continuity until their stony rattle
    Seems in itself a battle.
 
At length we rose up from this ease        25
Of tranquil happy mind,
And searched the garden’s little length
    Some new pleasaunce to find;
And there some yellow daffodils, and jasmine hanging high,
    Did rest the tired eye.        30
 
The fairest and most fragrant
Of the many sweets we found
Was a little bush of Daphne flower
    Upon a mossy mound,
And so thick were the blossoms set and so divine the scent,        35
    That we were well content.
 
Hungry for Spring I bent my head,
The perfume fanned my face,
And all my soul was dancing
    In that lovely little place,        40
Dancing with a measured step from wrecked and shattered towns
    Away … upon the Downs.
 
I saw green banks of daffodil,
Slim poplars in the breeze,
Great tan-brown hares in gusty March        45
    A-courting on the leas.
And meadows, with their glittering streams—and silver-scurrying dace—
    Home, what a perfect place!
 

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