ONCE again the Steamer at Calais — the tackles
Easing the car-trays on to the quay. Release her!
Sign-refill, and let me away with my horses
(Seventy Thundering Horses!)
Slow through the traffic, my horses! It is enough — it is France
Whether the throat-closing brick fields by Lille, or her pavées
Endlessly ending in rain between beet and tobacco;
Or that wind we shave by — the brutal North–Easter.
Rasping the newly dunged Somme.
(Into your collars, my horses!) It is enough — it is France!
Whether the dappled Argonne, the cloud-shadows packing
Either horizon with ghosts; or exquisite, carven
Villages hewn from the cliff, the torrents behind them
Feeding their never-quenched lights.
(Look to your footing, my horses!) It is enough — it is France!
Whether that gale where Biscay jammed in the corner
Herds and heads her seas at the Landes, but defeated
Bellowing smokes along Spain, till the uttermost headlands
Make themselves dance in the mist.
(Breathe — breathe deeply, my horses!) It is enough — it is France!
Whether the broken, honey-hued, honey-combed limestone
Cream under white-hot sun; the rosemary bee-bloom
Sleepily noisy at noon and, somewhere to Southward.
Sleepily noisy, the Sea.
(Tes, it is warm here, my horses!) It is enough — it is France
Whether the Massif in Spring, the multiplied lacets
Hampered by slips or drifts; the gentians, under
Turbaned snow, pushing up the heaven of Summer
Though the stark moors lie black.
(Neigh through the icicled tunnels;) ‘It is enough — it is France!’
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:10