| AT SENLIS ONCE
O how comely it was and how reviving,
When with clay and with death no longer striving
Down firm roads we came to houses
With women chattering and green grass thriving.
Now though rains in a cataract descended,
We could glow, with our tribulation ended--
Count not days, the present only
Was thought of, how could it ever be expended?
Clad so cleanly, this remnant of poor wretches
Picked up life like the hens in orchard ditches,
Gazed on the mill-sails, heard the church-bell,
Found an honest glass all manner of riches.
How they crowded the barn with lusty laughter,
Hailed the pierrots and shook each shadowy rafter,
Even could ridicule their own sufferings,
Sang as though nothing but joy came after!
Edmund Blunden (1896-1974)