by Edmund Blunden


Here they went with smock and crook,
     Toiled in the sun, lolled in the shade,
Here they mudded out the brook
     And here their hatchet cleared the glade:
Harvest supper woke their wit,
Huntsmanís moon their wooings lit.
From this church they led their brides,
     From this church themselves were led
Shoulder-high; on these waysides
     Sat to take their beer and bread.
Names are gone―what men they were
These their cottages declare.
Names are vanished, save the few
     In the old brown Bible scrawled;
These were men of pith and thew,
     Whom the city never called;
Scarce could read or hold a quill,
Built the barn, the forge, the mill.
On the green they watched their sons
     Playing till too dark to see,
As their fathers watched them once,
     As my father once watched me;
While the bat and beetle flew
On the warm air webbed with dew.
Unrecorded, unrenowned,
     Men from whom my ways begin,
Here I know you by your ground
     But I know you not within―
There is silence, there survives
Not a moment of your lives.
Like the bee that now is blown
     Honey-heavy on my hand,
From his toppling tansy-throne
     In the green tempestuous land
Iím in clover now, nor know
Who made honey long ago.
Edmund Blunden | Classic Poems

[ Forefathers ] Report on Experience ] The Midnight Skaters ]

"The Midnight Skaters", "Forefathers", and "Report on Experience" by Edmund Blunden can be found in his collection Poems of Many Years (copyright ©Estate of Claire Blunden 1957) and are reproduced by permission of PFD ( on behalf of the Estate of Claire Blunden.





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