The Cottage

Here in turn succeed and rule
Carter, smith, and village fool,
Then again the place is known
As tavern, shop, and Sunday-school;
Now somehow it’s come to me
To light the fire and hold the key,
Here in Heaven to reign alone.

All the walls are white with lime,
Big blue periwinkles climb
And kiss the crumbling window-sill;
Snug inside I sit and rhyme,
Planning, poem, book, or fable,
At my darling beech-wood table
Fresh with bluebells from the hill.

Through the window I can see
Rooks above the cherry-tree,
Sparrows in the violet bed,
Bramble-bush and bumble-bee,
And old red bracken smoulders still
Among boulders on the hill,
Far too bright to seem quite dead.

But old Death, who can’t forget,
Waits his time and watches yet,
Waits and watches by the door.
Look, he’s got a great new net,
And when my fighting starts afresh
Stouter cord and smaller mesh
Won’t be cheated as before.

Nor can kindliness of Spring,
Flowers that smile nor birds that sing,
Bumble-bee nor butterfly,
Nor grassy hill nor anything
Of magic keep me safe to rhyme
In this Heaven beyond my time.
No! for Death is waiting by.

by Robert Graves

Comments (9)

as inevitable as true slipping and being slurped through
Graves weaves a net of magic with his words. A simply beautiful poem, wonderfully etched, like a little picture-book opened in front of the eyes. Full marks!
Such beauty of image and writing.... such melancholy as th the poet waits for death to end his beautiful life and pen. Extraordinary piece of writing.
Beautiful poem. All nature's little things flow to mind like cool stream.
What strikes me most is the wonderful portrayal of nature and through all this the poet presents a philosophy of life based on his own experience. I quote a few lines: Rooks above the cherry-tree, Bramble-bush and bumble-bee,
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