Prose & Poetry - The Muse in Arms - The Hills

"The Hills" by Julian Grenfell 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 seventeen poems featured within the Moods and Memories section of the collection.

You can access other poems within the section via the sidebar to the right.

The Hills
by Julian Grenfell

Mussoorie and Chakrata Hill
The Jumna flows between;
And from Chakrata's hills afar
Mussoorie's vale is seen.
The mountains sing together
In cloud or sunny weather,
The Jumna, through their tether,
Foams white, or plunges green.

The mountains stand and laugh at Time;
They pillar up the earth,
They watch the ages pass, they bring
New centuries to birth.
They feel the daybreak shiver,
They see Time passing ever
As flows the Jumna River,
As breaks the white sea-surf.

They drink the sun in a golden cup,
And in blue mist the rain;
With a sudden brightening they meet the lightning
Or ere it strikes the plain.
They seize the sullen thunder,
And take it up for plunder,
And cast it down and under,
And up and back again.

They are as changeless as the rock,
As changeful as the sea;
They rest, but as a lover rests
After love's ecstasy.
They watch, as a true lover
Watches the quick lights hover
About the lids that cover
His eyes so wearily.

Heaven lies upon their breasts at night,
Heaven kisses them at dawn;
Heaven clasps and kisses them at even
With fire of the sun's death born.
They turn to his desire
Their bosom, flushing higher
With soft receptive fire,
And blushing, passion-torn.

Here, in the hills of ages
I met thee face to face;
O mother Earth, O lover Earth,
Look down on me with grace.
Give me thy passion burning,
And thy strong patience, turning
All wrath to power, all yearning
To truth, thy dwelling-place.

'Alleyman' was British slang for a German soldier.

- Did you know?