Prose & Poetry - The Muse in Arms - An Oxford Retrospect: May 1915

"An Oxford Retrospect: May 1915" by Dynely Hussey First published in London in November 1917 and reprinted in February 1918 The Muse in Arms comprised, in the words of editor E. B. Osborne:

"A collection of war poems, for the most part written in the field of action, by seamen, soldiers, and flying men who are serving, or have served, in the Great War".

Below is one of eight poems featured within the School and College section of the collection.  You can access other poems within the section via the sidebar to the right.

An Oxford Retrospect: May 1915
by Dynely Hussey

(To R.W.L.)

May! - and I am no more among your spires,
Dear Mother-city of my soul.
May! - and my heart hath new desires,
My spirit seeks another goal.

The lilac purples in the meadows green,
The avenues of elms I walked between
Cast over Christ Church walk their welcome shade.
Now in the College garden tulips tall
Nod to the gnarled wistaria on the wall,
And bright laburnum clusters gild the glade.

Now livid snakesheads bloom in Iffley mead,
And golden king-cups and pale cuckoo-weed,
That children gather against market-day.
O'er the cloud-dappled Cumnor hills the shade
Chases the sunlight-there I oft have strayed
And watched dun much-cows munch the hours away.

The river flows as ever 'neath the trees,
But I no longer take thereon my ease
Where a pink hawthorn overhangs the stream.
Ah! lazy, languid idlings on the Cher,
Sweet lotus-eatings, while my soul ranged far,
In empty musing, through a vain day-dream.

Ah! days of yester-year, whose hours flew by,
As winds blow past the tent wherein I lie,
Heedless I let you go nor knew your span.
And yet - I would not have you back again,
Even amid the misery and pain
That now is making of the boy a man.

Next May! - And if I lie in some cold grave
Dear Mother-city of my soul,
I am content to yield the life you gave
If but I nobly reach the goal.

'Whippet' was a term used to describe any light tank.

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