Breakfasted with Wells at nine fifteen
and then a walk in Easton Park to see
a heron on the lake. And then I changed
and six of us played ball for half an hour.
Fine lunch though, ducks, and apple pie,
a doze to miss the badminton, a hand
of bridge, a Schubert on the gramophone,
some yacht talk and some tea.
The day (outdoor) was over now, but for
the fireworks left from rainy yesterdays.
H.G. just disappeared (we thought to sleep)
to jot some inspirations while they came.
On Wednesday afternoon to Burslem where
the mater was reported seriously gone.
Saw her at 8, alone for half an hour.
Looked so very small, the hollow of the pillows
Made her so, the sharp and hectic cheeks,
the breathing from an open O, spoke
trifling things as of tremendous
moment, judgements that had dictates
From profound sagacity. Hardly
fully there though, dozing, waking
with a start of “What you say?” in
tossing blankets with their laundry marks.
Saucer, spoon, a dish of soap, the gas
on just a crack and burner fizzing bad,
the temp was barely 60. Damp, a chill
dug in my legs. The clock tocked to
A light and vibrant ping. The funeral though
too soon, the coffin on the chairs,
the parson stumbling in the gospel
bad. The graveyard just a walk away
And noted that the lodge at gates
is rented, wholly normally, to teacher
Ford, there next to Longson’s grave
and his young wives (“The shadows fall”):
Could all be pointed up, a piece
for Tit Bits. Curious how the carriage
trotted down from chapel then to
walk the bit of terrace to the train.
Took to thinking how the clumsiness of life
– my living I should say – disgusts.
Rough furniture, I’ve no cabinets of James
but then, The Mail gives 40 bob a go.
That woman minding cows at Ile Callot,
fat and old, in many skirts, she sees them
standing, moving slightly for a while, then
pulls the rope at 5 or 6: a barbary.
The old dam’s time’s not worth a cow’s:
like laundry windows looking out to cellar
walls in my hotel, and we above live all
on balconies, fine books, the clouds that meet the lake.
But fearful draughts from foyer doors;
with all the kitchen under glass
Reform Club’s empty and the hallway dark.
The sky’s a picric yellow, and that German
With the wheat stalks growing from
his eyes creates prodigious gloom.
The Armistice – it would do – came,
with larking girls and bonfires in the square.
Don’t think it’s finished. Abdication
of the Kaiser, yes, the British drizzle
damps hysterics and the Bolshevics
but, no, there’s something going on:
A whole world, turning on itself,
sick, complete, and tragic just
like us – but, Lord, they look so longingly!
Act then? What? And when? And where?
Something – but not everything – there.