And then a drift of wind perhaps will
And blow the insects hovering all about
Into the water. Some of them get out;
Others swim with sharp twitches; and you doubt
Whether of life or death for other some.
Meanwhile the blueflies sway themselves
Over the water’s surface, or close by;
Not one in ten beyond the grass will fly
That closely skirts the stream; nor will your eye
Meet any where the sunshine is not strong.
After a time you find, you know not how,
That it is quite a stretch of energy
To do what you have done unconsciously,—
That is, pull up the grass; and then you see
You may as well rise and be going now.
So, having walked for a few steps, you
Bodily on the grass under the sun,
And listen to the rustle, one by one,
Of the trees’ leaves; and soon the wind has done
For a short space, and it is quiet all;
Except because the rooks will make a caw
Just now and then together: and the breeze
Soon rises up again among the trees,
Making the grass, moreover, bend and tease
Your face, but pleasantly. Mayhap the paw
Of a dog touches you and makes you rise
Upon one arm to pat him; and he licks
Your hand for that. A child is throwing sticks,
Hard by, at some half-dozen cows, which fix
Upon him their unmoved contented eyes.
The sun’s heat now is painful.
Scarce can you
Move, and even less lie still. You shuffle then,
Poised on your arms, again to shade. Again
There comes a pleasant laxness on you. When
You have done enough of nothing, you will go.
Some hours perhaps have passed. Say
not you fling
These hours or such-like recklessly away.
Seeing the grass and sun and children, say,
Is not this something more than idle play,
Than careless waste? Is it a little thing?
Though we may brood with keenest subtlety,
Sending our reason forth, like Noah’s dove,
To know why we are here to die, hate, love,
With Hope to lead and help our eyes to see
Through labour daily in dim mystery,
Like those who in dense theatre and hall,
When fire breaks out or weight-strained rafters fall,
Towards some egress struggle doubtfully;
Though we through silent midnight may address
The mind to many a speculative page,
Yearning to solve our wrongs and wretchedness,
Yet duty and wise passiveness are won,—
(So it hath been and is from age to age)—
Though we be blind, by doubting not the sun.