The Country Gods

A poem by Richard Le Gallienne

I dwell, with all things great and fair:
The green earth and the lustral air,
The sacred spaces of the sea,
Day in, day out, companion me.
Pure-faced, pure-thoughted, folk are mine
With whom to sit and laugh and dine;
In every sunlit room is heard
Love singing, like an April bird,
And everywhere the moonlit eyes
Of beauty guard our paradise;
While, at the ending of the day,
To the kind country gods we pray,
And dues of our fair living pay.

Thus, when, reluctant, to the town
I go, with country sunshine brown,
So small and strange all seems to me -
the boonfellow of the sea -
That these town-people say and be:
Their insect lives, their insect talk,
Their busy little insect walk,
Their busy little insect stings -
And all the while the sea-weed swings
Against the rock, and the wide roar
Rises foam-lipped along the shore.
Ah! then how good my life I know,
How good it is each day to go
Where the great voices call, and where
The eternal rhythms flow and flow.
In that august companionship,
The subtle poisoned words that drip,
With guileless guile, from friendly lip,
The lie that flits from ear to ear,
Ye shall not speak, ye shall not hear;
Nor shall you fear your heart to say,
Lest he who listens shall betray.

The man who hearkens all day long
To the sea's cosmic-thoughted song
Comes with purged ears to lesser speech,
And something of the skyey reach
Greatens the gaze that feeds on space;
The starlight writes upon his face
That bathes in starlight, and the morn
Chrisms with dew, when day is born,
The eyes that drink the holy light
Welling from the deep springs of night.

And so - how good to catch the train
Back to the country gods again.

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