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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Michael Field

Earth to Earth


I STOOD to hear that bold

Sentence of grit and mould,

Earth to earth; they thrust

On his coffin dust;

Stones struck against his grave:

Oh, the old days, the brave!

Just with a pebble’s fall,

Grave-digger, you turn all

Bliss to bereaving;

To catch the cleaving

Of Atropa’s fine shears

Would less hurt human ears.

Live senses that death dooms!

For friendship in dear rooms,

Slow-lighting faces,

Hand-clasps, embraces,

Ashes on ashes grind:

Oh, poor lips left behind!