Poem – A Rhyme of Friends – Robert Graves

Listen now this time 
Shortly to my rhyme 

That herewith starts 

About certain kind hearts 

In those stricken parts 

That lie behind Calais, 

Old crones and aged men 

And young children. 

About the Picardais, 

Who earned my thousand thanks, 

Dwellers by the banks 

Of mournful Somme 

(God keep me therefrom 

Until War ends)– 

These, then, are my friends: 

Madame Averlant Lune, 

From the town of Bethune; 

Good Professeur la Brune 

From that town also. 

He played the piccolo, 

And left his locks to grow. 

Dear Madame Hojdes, 

Sempstress of Saint Fe. 

With Jules and Susette 

And Antoinette. 

Her children, my sweethearts, 

For whom I made darts 

Of paper to throw 

In their mimic show, 

‘La guerre aux tranchees.’ 

That was a pretty play. 
There was old Jacques Caron, 

Of the hamlet Mailleton. 

He let me look 

At his household book, 

‘Comment vivre cent ans.’ 

What cares I took 

To obey this wise book, 

I, who feared each hour 

Lest Death’s cruel power 

On the poppied plain 

Might make cares vain! 
By Noeus-les-mines 

Lived old Adelphine, 

Withered and clean, 

She nodded and smiled, 

And used me like a child. 

How that old trot beguiled 

My leisure with her chatter, 

Gave me a china platter 

Painted with Cherubim 

And mottoes on the rim. 

But when instead of thanks 

I gave her francs 

How her pride was hurt! 

She counted francs as dirt, 

(God knows, she was not rich) 

She called the Kaiser bitch, 

She spat on the floor, 

Cursing this Prussian war, 

That she had known before 

Forty years past and more. 
There was also ‘Tomi,’ 

With looks sweet and free, 

Who called me cher ami. 

This orphan’s age was nine, 

His folk were in their graves, 

Else they were slaves 

Behind the German line 

To terror and rapine– 

O, little friends of mine 

How kind and brave you were, 

You smoothed away care 

When life was hard to bear. 

And you, old women and men, 

Who gave me billets then, 

How patient and great-hearted! 

Strangers though we started, 

Yet friends we ever parted. 

God bless you all: now ends 

This homage to my friends.

Poem – Call It A Good Marriage – Robert Graves

Call it a good marriage – For no one ever questioned 

Her warmth, his masculinity, 

Their interlocking views; 

Except one stray graphologist 

Who frowned in speculation 

At her h’s and her s’s, 

His p’s and w’s. 
Though few would still subscribe 

To the monogamic axiom 

That strife below the hip-bones 

Need not estrange the heart, 

Call it a good marriage: 

More drew those two together, 

Despite a lack of children, 

Than pulled them apart. 
Call it a good marriage: 

They never fought in public, 

They acted circumspectly 

And faced the world with pride; 

Thus the hazards of their love-bed 

Were none of our damned business – 

Till as jurymen we sat on 

Two deaths by suicide.

English Poem – Cherry Time

Cherries of the night are riper
Than the cherries pluckt at noon
Gather to your fairy piper
When he pipes his magic tune:
Merry, merry,
Take a cherry;
Mine are sounder,
Mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter
For the eater
Under the moon.
And you’ll be fairies soon.

In the cherry pluckt at night,
With the dew of summer swelling,
There’s a juice of pure delight,
Cool, dark, sweet, divinely smelling.
Merry, merry,
Take a cherry;
Mine are sounder,
Mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter
For the eater
In the moonlight.
And you’ll be fairies quite.

When I sound the fairy call,
Gather here in silent meeting,
Chin to knee on the orchard wall,
Cooled with dew and cherries eating.
Merry, merry,
Take a cherry;
Mine are sounder,
Mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter.
For the eater
When the dews fall.
And you’ll be fairies all.

Robert Graves

Robert Graves