POPPIES ON LUDLOW CASTLE
by: Willa Cather (1873-1947)
- HROUGH halls
of vanished pleasure,
- And hold of vanished power,
- And crypt of faith forgotten,
- A came to Ludlow tower.
- A-top of arch and stairway,
- Of crypt and donjan cell,
- Of council hall, and chamber,
- Of wall, and ditch, and well,
- High over grated turrets
- Where clinging ivies run,
- A thousand scarlet poppies
- Enticed the rising sun,
- Upon the topmost turret,
- With death and damp below,--
- Three hundred years of spoilage,--
- The crimson poppies grow.
- This hall it was that bred him,
- These hills that knew him brave,
- The gentlest English singer
- That fills an English grave.
- How have they heart to blossom
- So cruel and gay and red,
- When beauty so hath perished
- And valour so hath sped?
- When knights so fair are rotten,
- And captains true asleep,
- And singing lips are dust-stopped
- Six English earth-feet deep?
- When ages old remind me
- How much hath gone for naught,
- What wretched ghost remaineth
- Of all that flesh hath wrought;
- Of love and song and warring,
- Of adventure and play,
- Of art and comely building,
- Of faith and form and fray--
- I'll mind the flowers of pleasure,
- Of short-lived youth and sleep,
- That drunk the sunny weather
- A-top of Ludlow keep.
POEMS BY WILLA CATHER
"Poppies on Ludlow Castle"
is reprinted from April Twilights. Willa Cather. Boston:
The Gorham Press, 1903.