“On the Downs” – John Masefield (published Sept., 1918)
Up on the downs the red-eyed kestrels hover,
Eyeing the grass.
The field-mouse flits like a shadow into cover
As their shadows pass.
Men are burning gorse on the down’s shoulder,
A drift of smoke
Glitters and hangs and the skies smoulder
And the lungs choke.
Once the tribe did thus on the downs, burning
Men in the frame,
Crying to the gods of the downs ’til their brains were burning
And the gods came.
And today on the downs, in the wind, the hawkes of the grasses
In blood and air,
Something passes me and cries as it passes,
On the chalk downland bare.