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Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall (Марджори Пиктхолл)

The Shepherd Boy

WHEN the red moon hangs over the fold,
And the cypress shadow is rimmed with gold,
O little sheep, I have laid me low,
My face against the old earth's face,
Where one by one the white moths go,
And the brown bee has his sleeping place.
And then I have whispered, Mother, hear,
For the owls are awake and the night is near,
And whether I lay me near or far
No lip shall kiss me,
No eye shall miss me,
Saving the eye of a cold white star.

And the old brown woman answers mild,
Rest you safe on my heart, O child.
Many a shepherd, many a king,
I fold them safe from their sorrowing.
Gwenever's heart is bound with dust,
Tristram dreams of the dappled doe,
But the bugle moulders, the blade is rust;
Stilled are the trumpets of Jericho,
And the tired men sleep by the walls of Troy.

Little and lonely,
Knowing me only,
Shall I not comfort you, shepherd-boy?

When the wind wakes in the apple-tree,
And the shy hare feeds on the wild fern stem,
I say my prayers to the Trinity,–
The prayers that are three and the charms that are seven
To the angels guarding the towers of heaven,–
And I lay my head on her raiment's hem,
Where the young grass darkens the strawberry star,
Where the iris buds and the bellworts are.
All night I hear her breath go by
Under the arch of the empty sky.
All night her heart beats under my head,
And I lie as still as the ancient dead,
Warm as the young lambs there with the sheep.
I and no other
Close to my Mother,
Fold my hands in her hands, and sleep. 

Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall's other poems:
  1. The Hillmans Lass
  2. The Green Month
  3. Wanderlied
  4. The Immortal
  5. Pieter Marinus

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