William Golding

From his 1934 published book 'Poems'

‘The Phoenix’

The phoenix rose again and flew

With crest and plume and pinion

In splendour from grey ashes flashing

Like a jewel turned beneath the sun.

In cities and in palaces,

Or toiling through the hot dumb sand

Bare-footed in the barren hills,

Men saw- and would not understand.

But some there were among the fields

That let the swerving plough jolt on

And stood and gazed against the light

Through wide eyes filled with tears as bright,

Until the burning bird was gone.

Oh Phoenix! Did they hear as I

The agony, the lonely cry

Of mateless, mateless, mateless Beauty,

Echoing in the desert sky?

‘Winged Horse’

Oh Pegasus, see him, Pegasus up in the night-

Beautiful sight in the solitude as he wheels

Flashing bright as a jewel in the upper light

Coltish for joy of the wide sky, kicking his heels!

But here, down here, my solitudes are dim-

Oh might I rise on his sunny wings for flight

In fields of crimson above the sea's rich rim.

Where day still wrestles with the angel of night!

Oh might I as Pegasus dive and wheel,

Freely shake hands with the laughing stars, and run

As free of the lively air as a bird may feel

In ways of thunder, about the blazing sun!

‘Song of the Flowers at the Land's End’

Darkness sits beneath the sea,

The sun is worn, the earth is cold,

And we are wild with mystery,

So young we be, and oh! So old.

An echo haunts the busy hours

Of all but recollected song

Sung soft among the ancient flowers

So long agone, so long, so long.

How often have we in our pain

Swayed to the 'Why?' but moments give

Faint answer that it must remain

Most sweet and terrible to live.

Darkness hovers on the sea,

The sun is set, the earth lies cold,

And we are wild with mystery,

So young we be, and ho! So old.

‘Mazed with Breakers’

Could I go out by the open door

And walk to the setting sun

By dark night or star-light

Till seven days were done,

Could I track down this evening

To heather and the sea

And hear dark waters moaning­ 

Ah Christ! If that could be!

Surely heather were soft and sweet,

Surely peace would creep

Out of the looming sea with dusk,

And  the  waves would let me sleep.

The sea is roaring in my blood,         

Crooning a wild tune.

I can no more say 'nay' to her

Than the tide to the master-moon.

‘Mr. Pope’

Mr. Pope walked in the park-

Trim rows of flowers

Embroider'd the well-ordered dark

Where marched the marshalled hours.

The trees stood silent, two by two

Pagodas lifted up their heads

From neatly weeded laurel-groves

And well-spaced flower-beds.

Then down a quiet gravel path-

For Mr. Pope eschewed the sod-

The gentleman pursued his way

To raise his hat to Mr. God.

‘Dear sir,’ he said, ‘I must confess

This is a chastely ordered land,

But one thing mars its loveliness,

The stars are rather out of hand’-

‘If they would dance a minuet

Instead of roaming wild and free

Or stand in rows all trim and neat

How exquisite the sky would be!’