LOVE IN BARRENNESS
Below the ridge a raven flew
And we heard the lost curlew
Mourning out of sight below.
Mountain tops were touched with snow;
Even the long dividing plain
Showed no wealth of sheep or grain,
But fields of boulders lay like corn
And raven's croak was shepherd's horn
Where slow cloud-shadow strayed across
A pasture of thin heath and moss.
The North Wind rose: I saw him press
With lusty force against your dress,
Moulding your body's inward grace
And streaming off from your set face;
So now no longer flesh and blood
But poised in marble flight you stood.
O wingless Victory, loved of men,
Who could withstand your beauty then?
[From Wipperginny as ‘Over the Ridge’ (1923)]
Robert's complete set of poems edited by Beryl Graves and Dunstan Ward and published in 3 volumes over the period 1995-1999 is now available in a single-volume hardcover, paperback or eBook publication from Carcanet and Penguin.