Do Not Expect Again A Phoenix Hour

Do not expect again a phoenix hour,

The triple-towered sky, the dove complaining,

Sudden the rain of gold and heart’s first ease

Tranced under trees by the eldritch light of sundown.

By a blazed trail our joy will be returning:

One burning hour throws light a thousand ways,

And hot blood stays into familiar gestures.

The best years wait, the body’s plenitude.

Consider then, my lover, this is the end

Of the lark’s ascending, the hawk’s unearthly hover:

Spring season is over soon and first heatwave;

Grave-browed with cloud ponders the huge horizon.

Draw up the dew. Swell with pacific violence.

Take shape in silence. Grow as the clouds grew.

Beautiful brood the cornlands, and you are heavy;

Leafy the boughs – they also hide big fruit.

from Collected Poems (Jonathan Cape, 1970), used by permission of PFD on behalf of the Estate of C Day Lewis.Recordings used by permission of the BBC

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