Said he: “I’ll dive deep in the Past,
And write a book of direful days
When summer skies were overcast
With smoke of humble hearths ablaze;
When War was rampant in the land,
And poor folk cowered in the night,
While ruin gaped on every hand –
of ravishing and wrath I’ll write.”
Ten years he toiled to write his book,
Yet he was happy all the while;
The world he willingly forsook
T live alone in hermit style.
In garden sanctuaried sweet,
Full favoured by the steadfast sun,
plunged in the Past, a life complete
He lived. . . . At last his work was done.
A worthy book that few would read
Yet all would praise – each precious page
Starred with some truth the rare would heed,
The vivid images of an age,
Then blinking, to the world again
He came a sage, remote, austere . . .
When lo! his eyes were smote with flame,
The wail of war was in his ear.
He shrank and sighed: “Oh can it be
These old iniquities prevail!
That sons of men are still unfree
And time repeats her sorry tale!”
So with a long sad gaze and last,
Seeking his secret garden nook,
He slipped again into the Past
To live – and write another book.