The light of day is cold and grey and there is no more peace
By the high moon-washed walls, where we laughed and where we sung;
And I can’t go back to those days of short unthinking ease,
When I was very foolish and you were very young.
For you the laurel and the rose will bloom, and you will see
The dawn’s delight, firelight on rafters, wind, seas, and thunder,
Children asleep and dreams and hearts at ease, when life will be,
Even at its close, a quiet and an ageless wonder.
For me the poppies soon will dance and sway in Haute Avesnes:
The sunrise of my love slides into dusk, its day untasted:
Yet as I lie, turf-clad, and freed of passion, and of pain,
I find my sacrifice of golden things not wasted;
Your peace is bought with mine, and I am paid in full, and well,
If but the echo of your laughter reaches me in hell.
by David Geraint Jones
a.k.a. David Rhys Geraint Jones
died of wounds, 1944
Additional information: There isn’t much information about him but this page gives a concise yet detailed account of Jones‘ time in the army leading up to his death. Haute-Avesnes is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Hauts-de-France region of France.
Wind in the poplars and a broken branch,
a dead arm in the bright trees. Five poplars
tremble gradually to gold. The stone face
of the lion darkens in a sharp shower,
his dreadlocks of lobelia grown long,
tangled, more brown now than blue-eyed.
My friend dead and the graveyard at Orcop –
her short ride to the hawthorn hedge, lighter
than hare-bones on men’s shoulders, our faces
stony, rain, weeping in the air. The grave
deep as a well takes the earth’s thud, the slow
fall of flowers.
Over the page the pen
runs faster than wind’s white steps over the grass.
For a while health feels like pain. Then panic
running the fields, the grass, the racing leaves
ahead of light, holding that robin’s eye
in the laurel, hydrangeas’ faded green.
I must write like the wind, year after year
passing my death-day, winning ground.
By Gillian Clarke
from Selected Poems (in the New Poems section of the 1996 edition)
Additional information: Orcop is a village and civil parish in the county of Herefordshire, England. It lies 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) south of Hereford.
St John the Baptist’s Church, in the parish of Orcop, is known as ‘the Poets Church‘ due to being the site where the English poet and broadcaster Frances Horovitz was laid to rest in October 1983 so, I assume, she is the deceased friend referred to in the poem.