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Best Famous Laurence Binyon Poems

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by Laurence Binyon |

The Healers

 In a vision of the night I saw them, 
In the battles of the night. 
'Mid the roar and the reeling shadows of blood 
They were moving like light, 

Light of the reason, guarded 
Tense within the will, 
As a lantern under a tossing of boughs 
Burns steady and still. 

With scrutiny calm, and with fingers 
Patient as swift 
They bind up the hurts and the pain-writhen 
Bodies uplift, 

Untired and defenceless; around them 
With shrieks in its breath 
Bursts stark from the terrible horizon 
Impersonal death; 

But they take not their courage from anger 
That blinds the hot being; 
They take not their pity from weakness; 
Tender, yet seeing; 

Feeling, yet nerved to the uttermost; 
Keen, like steel; 
Yet the wounds of the mind they are stricken with, 
Who shall heal? 

They endure to have eyes of the watcher 
In hell, and not swerve 
For an hour from the faith that they follow, 
The light that they serve. 

Man true to man, to his kindness 
That overflows all, 
To his spirit erect in the thunder 
When all his forts fall, —

This light, in the tiger-mad welter, 
They serve and they save. 
What song shall be worthy to sing of them —
Braver than the brave?


by Laurence Binyon |

The Children Dancing

 Away, sad thoughts, and teasing 
Perplexities, away! 
Let other blood go freezing, 
We will be wise and gay. 
For here is all heart-easing, 
An ecstasy at play.
The children dancing, dancing, 
Light upon happy feet, 
Both eye and heart entrancing 
Mingle, escape, and meet; 
Come joyous-eyed and advancing 
Or floatingly retreat.
Now slow, now swifter treading 
Their paces timed and true, 
An instant poised, then threading 
A maze of printless clue, 
Their motions smoothly wedding 
To melody anew,
They sway in chime, and scatter 
In looping circles; they 
Are Music's airy matter, 
And their feet move, the way 
The raindrops shine and patter 
On tossing flowers in May.
As if those flowers were singing 
For joy of the clean air, 
As if you saw them springing 
To dance the breeze, so fair 
The lissom bodies swinging, 
So light the flung-back hair.
And through the mind enchanted 
A happy river goes 
By its own young carol haunted 
And bringing where it flows 
What all in the world has wanted 
And who in this world knows?


by Laurence Binyon |

The Burning of the Leaves

 Now is the time for the burning of the leaves, 
They go to the fire; the nostrils prick with smoke 
Wandering slowly into the weeping mist. 
Brittle and blotched, ragged and rotten sheaves! 
A flame seizes the smouldering ruin, and bites 
On stubborn stalks that crackle as they resist. 
The last hollyhock’s fallen tower is dust: 
All the spices of June are a bitter reek, 
All the extravagant riches spent and mean. 
All burns! the reddest rose is a ghost. 
Spark whirl up, to expire in the mist: the wild 
Fingers of fire are making corruption clean. 
Now is the time for stripping the spirit bare, 
Time for the burning of days ended and done, 
Idle solace of things that have gone before, 
Rootless hope and fruitless desire are there: 
Let them go to the fire with never a look behind. 
That world that was ours is a world that is ours no more. 
They will come again, the leaf and the flower, to arise 
From squalor of rottenness into the old splendour, 
And magical scents to a wondering memory bring; 
The same glory, to shine upon different eyes. 
Earth cares for her own ruins, naught for ours. 
Nothing is certain, only the certain spring.


by Laurence Binyon |

For the Fallen

 With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children, 
England mourns for her dead across the sea. 
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit, 
Fallen in the cause of the free. 

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal 
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres, 
There is music in the midst of desolation 
And a glory that shines upon our tears. 

They went with songs to the battle, they were young, 
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. 
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted; 
They fell with their faces to the foe. 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; 
They sit no more at familiar tables of home; 
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; 
They sleep beyond England's foam. 

But where our desires are and our hopes profound, 
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight, 
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known 
As the stars are known to the Night; 

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, 
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain; 
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, 
To the end, to the end, they remain.


by Laurence Binyon |

A Song

 For Mercy, Courage, Kindness, Mirth, 
There is no measure upon earth. 
Nay, they wither, root and stem, 
If an end be set to them. 

Overbrim and overflow, 
If you own heart you would know; 
For the spirit born to bless 
Lives but in its own excess


by Laurence Binyon |

Invocation to Youth

 COME then, as ever, like the wind at morning! 
 Joyous, O Youth, in the aged world renew 
Freshness to feel the eternities around it, 
 Rain, stars and clouds, light and the sacred dew. 
 The strong sun shines above thee: 
 That strength, that radiance bring! 
 If Winter come to Winter, 
 When shall men hope for Spring?


by Laurence Binyon |

In the shadow of a broken house

 In the shadow of a broken house, 
Down a deserted street, 
Propt walls, cold hearths, and phantom stairs, 
And the silence of dead feet —
Locked wildly in one another's arms 
I saw two lovers meet.

And over that hearthless house aghast 
Rose from the mind's abyss 
Lost stars and ruined, peering moons, 
Worlds overshadowing this, —
Time's stony palace crumbled down 
Before that instant kiss.


by Laurence Binyon |

In the High Leaves of a Walnut

 In the high leaves of a walnut, 
On the very topmost boughs, 
A boy that climbed the branching bole 
His cradled limbs would house.

On the airy bed that rocked him 
Long, idle hours he'd lie 
Alone with white clouds sailing 
The warm blue of the sky.

I remember not what his dreams were; 
But the scent of a leaf's enough 
To house me higher than those high boughs 
In a youth he knew not of,

In a light that no day brings now 
But none can spoil or smutch, 
A magic that I felt not then 
And only now I touch.


by Laurence Binyon |

Men of Verdun

 There are five men in the moonlight
That by their shadows stand;
Three hobble humped on crutches,
And two lack each a hand.


Frogs somewhere near the roadside 
Chorus their chant absorbed: 
But a hush breathes out of the dream-light 
That far in heaven is orbed. 


It is gentle as sleep falling
And wide as thought can span,
The ancient peace and wonder 
That brims in the heart of man.


Beyond the hills it shines now
On no peace but the dead, 
On reek of trenches thunder-shocked, 
Tense fury of wills in wrestle locked,
A chaos of crumbled red.


by Laurence Binyon |

Nothing is enough!

 No, though our all be spent-- 
Heart's extremest love, 
Spirit's whole intent, 
All that nerve can feel, 
All that brain invent,-- 
Still beyond appeal 
Will Divine Desire 
Yet more excellent 
Precious cost require 
Of this mortal stuff,-- 
Never be content 
Till ourselves be fire. 
Nothing is enough!