Northumbria. - A Dirge.

A poem by Thomas Runciman

Dirge the sorrows by time made dim:
Seas are sullen in rain and mist.
Regret the woes that behind us swim:
Sullen's the north and grey the east.

Black boats speck the horizon's rim:
The north is heavy and grey the east.
They plash to shore in unison grim:
The breakers roar through rain and mist.

Ah! the ravening Dane of old!
Joys are born of time and sorrow.
He was beautiful, cruel and bold:
Death yesterday is life to-morrow.

The slain lie stark on bented mounds:
Winds are calling in rain and mist.
There's blood and smoke and wide red wounds,
And black boats make to north and east.

Through murky weltering seas they row:
Dirge the eyes their deeds made dim.
Wives at their conning smile and glow,
And hail them on the horizon's rim.

There's peace on low mounds and shallow dells,
Yellow rag-wort and sea-reed grey,
And thrumming and booming of village bells:
Dirge the lives of that faded day.

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