Soldier and Girl Sleeping by Sheila Shannon

(On a painting by William Scott)

It is late, already, it is night,
But still they wait still spin the moments out
There is time yet and they rest
Side by side on the hard station bench
For the train will come, will break
These two apart and bear the half way

Parting in love is not so hard a thing,
(Leaving with a crystal certitude
Wrapping within the pain a kernel joy),
As parting in love’s echo,
For outgoing love bears on its ebbing tide
All things away and is more sure
In its finality than Death

These two are sleeping now
She sleeps so lightly
Wavering on the further verge of waking,
But his stillness holds her firm
In the fixed circle of his dream,
She lies within the cavities of his being
The bright imagination of his heart
And through his darkened eyes sees not
The falling hand of Time,
Nor through his sleeping ears can hear
The tiger trains prowl in and out

They sleep
And parting has no time for them
Nor place to hurt them in.

From: Dickinson, Patric (ed.), Soldiers’ Verse, 1945, Frederick Muller Ltd: London, p. 23.
(https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.225784/)

Date: 1945

By: Sheila Shannon (1913-????)

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