Blown Hilcote Manor
Blown Hilcote Manor
Masefield, John. Selected Poems. Edited by Donald Stanford. Manchester, England: Carcanet, 1984: 136-137.
1In perfect June we reached the house to let,
2In remote woodland, up a private lane,
3Beyond a pond that seemed as black as jet
4Whereon a moorhen oared with chickens twain;
5And from the first a sense of want or debt
6Seemed to possess the place from ancient pain.
7Then, turning Right, we had the House in view,
8A red Victorian brick--with earlier stone,
9Fair, but unhappy, being overgrown
10With all the greenness Summer ever grew.
11Above, about, the Summer sky was blue,
12And drowsy doves intoned their purrilone.
13But though abundant Summer shed her grace,
14A look sufficed, to tell a wanderer there
15That Death and Sorrow of Soul had hurt the place,
16Stricken its life and plucked its glory bare.
17No tick of time, no bell-chime, charmed the air;
18The clock had stopped; we saw an empty case.
19The House was dead, with doors and windows shut.
20No chimney smoked; no broom, no bucket, plied;
21Under the pampas at the border-side
22A humping rabbit shewed a flash of scut.
23How many Summers since the lawn was cut?
24I plucked the door-bell's pull; no bell replied.
25Then, as I sought another door, a sense
26Startled my mind, a sense my comrade shared,
27That all the House was glad, because suspense
28(Long there) was finished, and a peace declared.
29Blank on the uncut grass the windows stared,
30But, oh, delighted souls were gazing thence.
31A tall French-window in a garden room
32Was latchless and ajar; we entered in.
33The place seemed full of folk, expecting whom?
34A household mustered there, expecting kin...
35Someone most dear, perhaps estranged by sin,
36Or lacking absolution from the tomb.
37Through open doors we looked into rooms bare
38All, sensibly inhabited with glee,
39And happy folk seemed coming down the stair
40From sunny bedrooms in eternity,
41Although we might not talk with them nor see
42We felt the joy they wanted us to share.
43The Manor brimmed with happiness unknown
44From sorrows ending, and beloved return.
45Death having perished, hell was overthrown,
46And spirits there made festal fires burn,
47And ours, too, for, did we not discern
48Love, living on, not dying all alone?
49Men in their misery forever pray
50For any gleam, for any certain ray,
51From light beyond the mirk they struggle through.
52This certainty of living love we knew
53At Hilcote Manor, off the Icknield Way,
54On Monday, June the sixth, in 'thirty two.
Publication Start Year
On the Hill
RPO poem Editors
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh