Modern Poetry: Studies in Practical Criticism

By C. B. Cox; A. E. Dyson | Go to book overview

3
THE SIGN-POST

by Edward Thomas

THE dim sea glints chill. The white sun is shy,
And the skeleton weeds and the never-dry,
Rough, long grasses keep white with frost
At the hilltop by the finger-post;
The smoke of the traveller's-joy is puffed
Over hawthorn berry and hazel tuft.
I read the sign. Which way shall I go?
A voice says: You would not have doubted so
At twenty. Another voice gentle with scorn
Says: At twenty you wished you had never been born.

One hazel lost a leaf of gold
From a tuft at the tip, when the first voice told
The other he wished to know what 'twould be
To be sixty by this same post. 'You shall see,'
He laughed--and I had to join his laughter-- 'You shall see; but either before or after,
Whatever happens, it must befall,
A mouthful of earth to remedy all
Regrets and wishes shall freely be given;
And if there be a flaw in that heaven
'Twill be freedom to wish, and your wish may be
To be here or anywhere talking to me,
No matter what the weather, on earth,
At any age between death and birth,--
To see what day or night can be,
The sun and the frost, the land and the sea,

-48-

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Modern Poetry: Studies in Practical Criticism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Acknowledgements 7
  • Introduction 9
  • 1 - After a Journey 33
  • 2 - The Listeners 41
  • 3 - The Sign-Post 48
  • 4 - Futility 52
  • 5 - Easter 1916 57
  • 6 - Bavarian Gentians 66
  • 7 - Marina 72
  • 8 - The Landscape Near an Aerodrome 80
  • 9 - Snow 85
  • 10 - Spain 1937 90
  • 11 - O Dreams, O Destinations 98
  • 12 - Poem for Elsa 109
  • 13 - Vanity 116
  • 14 - Fern Hill 122
  • 15 - The Horses 128
  • 16 - A Blackbird Singing 133
  • 17 - At Grass 137
  • 18 - The Casualty 142
  • 19 - Considering the Snail 147
  • 20 - On the Death Of a Murderer 153
  • Short Biographies 161
  • Suggestions For Further Reading 165
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