Edward Thomas (1878-1917)

Downhill I came, hungry, yet not starved.
Cold, yet had heat within me that was proof
Against the North wind, tired, yet so that rest
Had seemed the sweetest thing under a roof.

Then at the inn I had food, fire, and rest,
Knowing how hungry, cold, and tired was I.
All of the night was quite barred out except
An owl's cry, a most melancholy cry.

Shaken out long and clear upon the hill,
No merry note, nor cause of merriment,
But one telling me plain what I escaped
And others could not, that night, is in I went.

And slated was my food, and my repose,
Salted and sobered, too, by the bird's voice,
Speaking for all who lay under the stars,
Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice.

- January 1915