Prelude to an Unwritten Masterpiece by Siegfried Sassoon
You like my bird-sung gardens: wings and flowers; Calm landscapes for emotion; star-lit lawns; And Youth against the sun-rise ... â€˜Not profound; â€˜But such a haunting music in the sound: â€˜Do it once more; it helps us to forgetâ€™.
Last night I dreamt an old recurring sceneâ€” Some complex out of childhood; (sex, of course!) I canâ€™t remember how the trouble starts; And then Iâ€™m running blindly in the sun Down the old orchard, and thereâ€™s something cruel Chasing me; someone roused to a grim pursuit Of clumsy anger ... Crash! Iâ€™m through the fence And thrusting wildly down the wood thatâ€™s dense With woven green of safety; paths that wind Moss-grown from glade to glade; and far behind, One thwarted yell; then silence. Iâ€™ve escaped.
Thatâ€™s where it used to stop. Last night I went Onward until the trees were dark and huge, And I was lost, cut off from all return By swamps and birdless jungles. Iâ€™d no chance Of getting home for tea. I woke with shivers, And thought of crocodiles in crawling rivers.
Some day Iâ€™ll build (more ruggedly than Doughty) A dark tremendous song youâ€™ll never hear. My beard will be a snow-storm, drifting whiter On bowed, prophetic shoulders, year by year. And some will say, â€˜His work has grown so dreary.â€™ Others, â€˜He used to be a charming writerâ€™. And you, my friend, will queryâ€” â€˜Why canâ€™t you cut it short, you pompous blighter?â€™