Week-End

Original Text: 
Strange Meetings: Poems By Harold Monro (Wiltshire: Laurel Books, 2003): 60-64.
I
1The train! The twelve o'clock for paradise.
2  Hurry, or it will try to creep away.
3Out in the country everyone is wise:
4  We can be only wise on Saturday.
5There you are waiting, little friendly house:
6  Those are your chimney-stacks with you between,
7Surrounded by old trees and strolling cows,
8  Staring through all your windows at the green.
9Your homely floor is creaking for our tread;
10  The smiling teapot with contented spout
11Thinks of the boiling water, and the bread
12  Longs for the butter. All their hands are out
13      To greet us, and the gentle blankets seem
14      Purring and crooning: ."Lie in us, and dream.."
II
15The key will stammer, and the door reply,
16  The hall wake, yawn, and smile; the torpid stair
17Will grumble at our feet, the table cry:
18  ."Fetch my belongings for me; I am bare.."
19A clatter! Something in the attic falls.
20  A ghost has lifted up his robes and fled.
21The loitering shadows move along the walls;
22  Then silence very slowly lifts his head.
23The starling with impatient screech has flown
24  The chimney, and is watching from the tree.
25They thought us gone for ever: mouse alone
26  Stops in the middle of the floor to see.
27      Now all you idle things, resume your toil.
28      Hearth, put your flames on. Sulky kettle, boil.
III
29Contented evening; comfortable joys;
30  The snoozing fire, and all the fields are still:
31Tranquil delight, no purpose, and no noise.-
32  Unless the slow wind flowing round the hill.
33."Murry." (the kettle) dozes; little mouse
34  Is rambling prudently about the floor.
35There's lovely conversation in this house:
36  Words become princes that were slaves before.
37What a sweet atmosphere for you and me
38  The people that have been here left behind .Àæ
39Oh, but I fear it may turn out to be
40  Built of a dream, erected in the mind:
41      So if we speak too loud, we may awaken
42      To find it vanished, and ourselves mistaken.
IV
43Lift up the curtain carefully. All the trees
44  Stand in the dark like drowsy sentinels.
45The oak is talkative to-night; he tells
46  The little bushes crowding at his knees
47That formidable, hard, voluminous
48  History of growth from acorn into age.
49They titter like school-children; they arouse
50  Their comrades, who exclaim: ."He is very sage.."
51Look how the moon is staring through that cloud,
52  Laying and lifting idle streaks of light.
53O hark! was that the monstrous wind, so loud
54  And sudden, prowling always through the night?
55      Let down the shaking curtain. They are queer,
56      Those foreigners. They and we live so near.
V
57Come, come to bed. The shadows move about,
58  And someone seems to overhear our talk.
59The fire is low; the candles flicker out;
60  The ghosts of former tenants want to walk.
61Already they are shuffling through the gloom.
62  I felt an old man touch my shoulder-blade;
63Once he was married here: they love this room,
64  He and his woman and the child they made.
65Dead, dead, they are, yet some familiar sound,
66  Creeping along the brink of happy life,
67Revives their memory from under ground.-
68  The farmer and his troublesome old wife.
69      Let us be going: as we climb the stairs,
70      They'll sit down in our warm half-empty chairs.
VI
71Morning! Wake up! Awaken! All the boughs
72  Are rippling on the air across the green.
73The youngest birds are singing to the house.
74  Blood of the world!.-and is the country clean?
75Disturb the precinct. Cool it with a shout.
76  Sing as you trundle down to light the fire.
77Turn the encumbering shadows tumbling out,
78  And fill the chambers with a new desire.
79Life is no good, unless the morning brings
80  White happiness and quick delight of day.
81These half-inanimate domestic things
82  Must all be useful, or must go away.
83      Coffee, be fragrant. Porridge in my plate,
84      Increase the vigour to fulfill my fate.
VII
85The fresh air moves like water round a boat.
86  The white clouds wander. Let us wander too.
87The whining wavering plover flap and float.
88  That crow is flying after that cuckoo.
89Look! Look! .Àæ They're gone. What are the great trees calling?
90  Just come a little farther, by that edge
91Of green, to where the stormy ploughland, falling
92  Wave upon wave, is lapping to the hedge.
93Oh, what a lovely bank! Give me your hand.
94  Lie down and press your heart against the ground.
95Let us both listen till we understand,
96  Each through the other, every natural sound .Àæ
97      I can't hear anything to-day, can you,
98      But, far and near: ."Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo!."?
VIII
99The everlasting grass.-how bright, how cool!
100  The day has gone too suddenly, too soon.
101There's something white and shiny in that pool.-
102  Throw in a stone, and you will hit the moon,
103Listen, the church-bell ringing! Do not say
104  We must go back to-morrow to our work.
105We'll tell them we are dead: we died to-day.
106  We're lazy. We're too happy. We will shirk.
107We're cows. We're kettles. We'll be anything
108  Except the manikins of time and fear.
109We'll start away to-morrow wandering.
110  And nobody will notice in a year .Àæ
111      Now the great sun is slipping under ground.
112      Grip firmly!.-How the earth is whirling round.
IX
113Be staid; be careful; and be not too free.
114  Temptation to enjoy your liberty
115May rise against you, break into a crime,
116  And smash the habit of employing Time.
117It serves no purpose that the careful clock
118  Mark the appointment, the officious train
119Hurry to keep it, if the minutes mock
120  Loud in your ear: ."Late. Late. Late. Late again.."
121Week-end is very well on Saturday:
122  On Monday it's a different affair.-
123A little episode, a trivial stay
124  In some oblivious spot somehow, somewhere.
125      On Sunday night we hardly laugh or speak:
126      Week-end begins to merge itself in Week.
X
127Pack up the house, and close the creaking door.
128  The fields are dull this morning in the rain.
129It's difficult to leave that homely floor.
130  Wave a light hand; we will return again.
131(What was that bird?) Good-bye, ecstatic tree,
132  Floating, bursting, and breathing on the air.
133The lonely farm is wondering that we
134  Can leave. How every window seems to stare!
135That bag is heavy. Share it for a bit.
136  You like that gentle swashing of the ground
137As we tread? .Àæ
138              It is over. Now we sit
139              Reading the morning paper in the sound
140                  Of the debilitating heavy train.
141                  London again, again. London again.
Publication Start Year: 
1917
Publication Notes: 
Georgian Poetry 3 (1917); Collected Poems, ed. Alida Monro, with prefaces by F. S. Flint and T. S. Eliot (London: Cobden-Sanderson, 1933): 125-29
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2004
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