Unknown Country

Original Text: 
Strange Meetings: Poems By Harold Monro (Wiltshire: Laurel Books, 2003): 96-97.
1Here, in this other world, they come and go
2With easy dream-like movements to and fro.
3They stare through lovely eyes, yet do not seek
4An answering gaze, or that a man should speak.
5Had I a load of gold, and should I come
6Bribing their friendship, and to buy a home,
7They would stare harder and would slightly frown:
8I am a stranger from the distant town.
9Oh, with what patience I have tried to win
10The favour of the hostess of the Inn!
11Have I not offered toast on frothing toast
12Looking toward the melancholy host;
13Praised the old wall-eyed mare to please the groom;
14Laughed to the laughing maid and fetched her broom;
15Stood in the background not to interfere
16When the cool ancients frolicked at their beer;
17Talked only in my turn, and made no claim
18For recognition or by voice or name,
19Content to listen, and to watch the blue
20Or grey of eyes, or what good hands can do?
21Sun-freckled lads, who at the dusk of day
22Stroll through the village with a scent of hay
23Clinging about you from the windy hill,
24Why do you keep your secret from me still?
25You loiter at the corner of the street:
26I in the distance silently entreat.
27I know too well I'm city-soiled, but then
28So are to-day ten million other men.
29My heart is true: I've neither will nor charms
30To lure away your maidens from your arms.
31Trust me a little. Must I always stand
32Lonely, a stranger from an unknown land?
33There is a riddle here. Though I'm more wise
34Than you, I cannot read your simple eyes.
35I find the meaning of their gentle look
36More difficult than any learned book.
37I pass: perhaps a moment you may chaff
38My walk, and so dismiss me with a laugh.
39I come: you all, most grave and most polite,
40Stand silent first, then wish me calm Good-Night.
41When I go back to town some one will say:
42."I think that stranger must have gone away.."
43And ."Surely!." some one else will then reply.
44Meanwhile, within the dark of London, I
45Shall, with my forehead resting on my hand,
46Not cease remembering your distant land;
47Endeavouring to reconstruct aright
48How some treed hill has looked in evening light;
49Or be imagining the blue of skies
50Now as in heaven, now as in your eyes;
51Or in my mind confusing looks or words
52Of yours with dawnlight, or the song of birds:
53Not able to resist, not even keep
54Myself from hovering near you in my sleep:
55You still as callous to my thought and me
56As flowers to the purpose of the bee.
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
The Dial (March 1921); Collected Poems, ed. Alida Monro, with prefaces by F. S. Flint and T. S. Eliot (London: Cobden-Sanderson, 1933): 93-94.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: