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For All Prisoners And Captives

Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall 1883 (Gunnersbury, London) – 1922 (Vancouver)



OVER the English trees and the English meadows
Twilight is falling clear,
But my heart walks far in the homeless winds and the shadows
For those who are not here.

Youth and pleasure and peace and the strong flesh clothing
The freeman's soul, they gave;
Beauty they gave for a scar and honour for loathing
And life for a living grave.

But not of the least they gave was the English, mellow
Sunlight on beech leaves spread,
And the Squirrel flickering earthward to find his fellow
Where the chestnut husks lie dead.

And not of the least they lost was the calm star climbing
Over the elm tree's height,
And the heron high in the mists, and the hoar frost riming
The ivy leaves at night.

Night and the early moon, and the dead leaves burning,
And England secure and free
By the price of uncounted heartbreaks toward her turning
Across her kindred sea.

Night, and the smell of the earth, and the blue reek lifting
Straight as a prayer from the plain.
Loose them, O Sleep, to the sun and the beech leaves drifting
And the stubble fields again!

Night, and the robins still, and the long smoke folding,
The fallow on either hand,
And the spirits of those who sorrow afar, beholding
In dreams their native land.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall

Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall, was a Canadian writer who was born in England but lived in Canada from the time she was seven. She was once "thought to be the best Canadian poet of her generation." more…

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    "For All Prisoners And Captives" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 22 Jan. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/26421/for-all-prisoners-and-captives>.

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