Edward Thomas

The Mountain Chapel

Chapel and gravestones, old and few, 
Are shrouded by a mountain fold 
From sound and view 
Of life. The loss of the brook's voice 
Falls like a shadow. All they hear is 
The eternal noise 
Of wind whistling in grass more shrill 
Than aught as human as a sword, 
And saying still: 
‘'Tis but a moment since man's birth, 
And in another moment more 
Man lies in earth 
For ever; but I am the same
Now, and shall be, even as I was 
Before he came; 
Till there is nothing I shall be.' 

Yet there the sun shines after noon 
So cheerfully 
The place almost seems peopled, nor 
Lacks cottage chimney, cottage hearth: 
It is not more 
In size than is a cottage, less 
Than any other empty home 
In homeliness. 
It has a garden of wild flowers 
And finest grass and gravestones warm 
In sunshine hours 
The year through. Men behind the glass 
Stand once a week, singing, and drown 
The whistling grass 
Their ponies munch. And yet somewhere, 
Near or far off, there's some man could 
Live happy here, 
Or one of the gods perhaps, were they 
Not of inhuman stature dire, 
As poets say 
Who have not seen them clearly; if 
At sound of any wind of the world 
In grass-blades stiff
They would not startle and shudder cold 
Under the sun. When Gods were young 
This wind was old.