The Cottage

Robert Graves 1895 (Wimbledon) – 1985 (Deià)

Here in turn succeed and rule
Carter, smith, and village fool,
Then again the place is known
As tavern, shop, and Sunday-school;
Now somehow it’s come to me
To light the fire and hold the key,
Here in Heaven to reign alone.

All the walls are white with lime,
Big blue periwinkles climb
And kiss the crumbling window-sill;
Snug inside I sit and rhyme,
Planning, poem, book, or fable,
At my darling beech-wood table
Fresh with bluebells from the hill.

Through the window I can see
Rooks above the cherry-tree,
Sparrows in the violet bed,
Bramble-bush and bumble-bee,
And old red bracken smoulders still
Among boulders on the hill,
Far too bright to seem quite dead.

But old Death, who can’t forget,
Waits his time and watches yet,
Waits and watches by the door.
Look, he’s got a great new net,
And when my fighting starts afresh
Stouter cord and smaller mesh
Won’t be cheated as before.

Nor can kindliness of Spring,
Flowers that smile nor birds that sing,
Bumble-bee nor butterfly,
Nor grassy hill nor anything
Of magic keep me safe to rhyme
In this Heaven beyond my time.
No! for Death is waiting by.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Robert Graves

Robert von Ranke Graves was an English poet, scholar/translator/writer of antiquity specializing in Classical Greece and Rome, novelist and soldier in World War One. more…

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