On The Downs

Edith Nesbit

The little moon is dead,
Drowned in the flood of rain
That drips from roof of byre and shed,
And splashes in the lane:
The leafless lean-flanked lane
Where last year's leaves are spread.

The sheep cower in the fold,
Where the rain beats them blind,
Where scarce the rotten hurdles hold
Against the weary wind
That moans with angry tears
Across the pathless wold.

Dim lights across the down
Show where the lone farms lie,
The twisted trees have lost their brown,
Are black against the sky,
And far below blink lights,
Gay lights of Brighton town.

Ah, was the moon once bright?
And did the thyme smell sweet
Where, between dewy dusk and light,
The warm turf felt our feet,
And bean-flowers scented
All the enchanted summer night?

Did sheep-bells tinkle clear
Across the golden haze?
Were the woods ever leafy-dear,
In those forgotten days?
The wet wind shrieks denial:
No other voice speaks here.

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