To A Black Greyhound

Poem by Julian Grenfell (1888-1915)

Niles Cassidy

Shining black in the shining light,

Inky black in the golden sun,

Graceful as the swallow’s flight,

Light as swallow, winged one,

Swift as driven hurricane–

Double-sinewed stretch and spring,

Muffled thud of flying feet,

See the black dog galloping

Hear his wild foot-beat.

 

See him lie when the day is dead,

Black curves curled on the boarded floor.

Sleepy eyes, my sleepy-head–

Eyes that were aflame before.

Gentle now, they burn no more;

Gentle now and softly warm,

With the fire that that made them bright

Hidden–as when after storm

Softly falls the night.

 

God of speed, who makes the fire–

God of Peace, who lulls the same–

God who gives the fierce desire,

Lust for blood as fierce as flame–

God who stands in Pity’s name–

Many may ye be or less,

Ye who rule the earth and sun:

Gods of strength and gentleness,

Ye are ever one.

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