Prose & Poetry - The Muse in Arms - The Tryst

"The Tryst" by A. J. 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 Tryst
by A. J.

There was a peace at eve no other hour
Knows of: the east, a dusken tapestry of yellow light
Woven with feathers from the wings of birds in flight,
Curtained the presence of an unseen Power.

I stood between deep ranks of pillaring pine
In a small glade, and up above a cupola more deep
Recessed into the blueness of the sky. All wrapped in sleep
Save the unresting vigil of starshine.

And then I called on God. The pinetops kissed,
The sky was suddenly disturbed, vague eddies in the air
Scattered night-perfumes, cloud-sheets raced, grass rustled everywhere,
Nature made preparation for that mighty tryst.

Clutching thine hand, sweet Death, my tranquil friend,
And nestling close to thee, I shall have power
To rest uninjured by the transient hour,
Knowing my end.

I shall be held above the eddying tide
Into a sunlit quiet, and thence hide
With but an outstretched palm the wearying crowd,
'Twixt whom and God a gulf unknownly wide
Is fixed, to drown their littlenesses loud.
Blow forth, Death's herald, from thy silver horn
Strains sweeter far than birds a-song at morn.

All day he moved not, lying low amid
The cool fresh odorous grass. He heard the trill
Of water leaping somewhere shadow-hid,
And in unfettered rapture drank his fill
Of deep rose odour, till sleep stole unbid
Upon him, with the music of the rill.

He woke in darkness. 'Twixt him and the skies
Darted the black things of the middle night -
While all around broke shrill and tragic cries
As of hope dead, and fancy put to flight.
And somewhere, hidden from his burning eyes,
Cold dropping water set his heart affright.

"Plugstreet" was British slang to describe the Belgian village of Ploegsteert.

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