Tommies In The Train

A poem by David Herbert Lawrence

THE SUN SHINES,
The coltsfoot flowers along the railway banks
Shine like flat coin which Jove in thanks
Strews each side the lines.

A steeple
In purple elms, daffodils
Sparkle beneath; luminous hills
Beyond - and no people.

England, Oh Danaƫ
To this spring of cosmic gold
That falls on your lap of mould!
What then are we?

What are we
Clay-coloured, who roll in fatigue
As the train falls league by league
From our destiny?

A hand is over my face,
A cold hand. I peep between the fingers
To watch the world that lingers
Behind, yet keeps pace.

Always there, as I peep
Between the fingers that cover my face!
Which then is it that falls from its place
And rolls down the steep?

Is it the train
That falls like meteorite
Backward into space, to alight
Never again?

Or is it the illusory world
That falls from reality
As we look? Or are we
Like a thunderbolt hurled?

One or another
Is lost, since we fall apart
Endlessly, in one motion depart
From each other.

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