Spring 1948 • Vol. X No. 2 A Group of Irish Poems |

The Settled Men

No sly usurping dream defeats the will Of these whose kingdoms are their careful crops. Only the unwatched weeds breed loss, Only the thoughtless sky contests Against the slow resourcefulness of these Who move between bare weathering headlands, Moving until the stubborn heart is stayed. Gravely, as gravely they live as the stones That wall about their season-worried fields. When death's encroaching wind unsettles hold One falls, one stone, one man whose loss Opens a door of prayer on every hearth. Then without hesitancy or fear Another thrusts into the vacant place. Across their skies the sun leans sometimes or The tall rain swings. The white day like a blade Slips into night's sheath gradually, night That nurses no sprouting fantasies of wealth, But stretches a shadow on the marriage bed, And in its darkness breeds the hands, The hands of future toil and later ghosts. Within their boundaries of clutching field They are the uncommuning men. Absent Is History

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