Back from the Somme two Fusiliers Limped painfully home; the elder said, S. â€œRobert, Iâ€™ve lived three thousand years This Summer, and Iâ€™m nine parts dead.â€ R. â€œBut if thatâ€™s truly so,â€ I cried, â€œquick, now, Through these great oaks and see the famous bough
â€Where once a nonsense built her nest With skulls and flowers and all things queer, In an old boot, with patient breast Hatching three eggs; and the next yearâ€¦â€ S. â€œFoaled thirteen squamous young beneath, and rid Wales of drink, melancholy, and psalms, she did.â€
Said he, â€œBefore this quaint mood fails, Weâ€™ll sit and weave a nonsense hymn,â€ R. â€œHanging it up with monkey tails In a deep grove all hushed and dimâ€¦.â€ S. â€œTo glorious yellow-bunched banana-trees,â€ R. â€œPlanted in dreams by pious Portuguese,â€
S. â€œWhich men are wise beyond their time, And worship nonsense, no one more.â€ R. â€œHard by, among old quince and lime, Theyâ€™ve built a temple with no floor,â€ S. â€œAnd whosoever worships in that place, He disappears from sight and leaves no trace.â€
R. â€œOnce the Galatians built a fane To Sense: what duller God than that?â€ S. â€œBut the first day of autumn rain The roof fell in and crushed them flat.â€ R. â€œAy, for a roof of subtlest logic falls When nonsense is foundation for the walls.â€
I tell him old Galatian tales; He caps them in quick Portuguese, While phantom creatures with green scales Scramble and roll among the trees. The hymn swells; on a bough above us sings A row of bright pink birds, flapping their wings.