Through hours of England, swift, my angel, go:
high above towns
and green enormous downs
whose slopes four huge white horses loll upon;
past turning banks of hills below
the glassy sky a pistol-shot could smash;
feel as the daylight fades the leaves go cold
and herbs unfold
their savour on the lanes’ hot height of dust.
The old brass bedsteads wrecked upon the hill
flame red and golden fires and disappear;
each hillside rill
repeats the flashes of the sunset’s fear.
Startle, my messenger, from heavy-headed birds,
from drowsy birds, a last reply:
they weep their dripping notes in pools of sleep
to hear you, rustling angel, fly.
The dusk is closing on your road:
acres of dung, acres of stones you pass,
dark as a titan’s bones below, unknown.
Expired the daytime halo of green grass,
blushes, and sleeps;
the day’s last arrows fly,
the bowstring is relaxed,
the humming of the bowstring is my breathing,
my last sigh.
Careless if they hit the mark,
forgetful of the mark,
I slowly fade into the dark;
the sun is gone, the day; the world is gone.