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Texts & Translations: x2 Series

JAKE HEGGIE (b. 1961) Here and Gone

I. The Farms of Home

The farms of home lie lost in even,
I see far off the steeple stand;
West and away from here to heaven
Still is the land.
There if I go no girl will greet me,
No comrade hollo from the hill,
No dog run down the yard to meet me:
The land is still.

The land is still by farm and steeple,
And still for me the land may stay:
There I was friends with perished people,
And there lie they.

II. In Praise of Songs that Die

Ah! They are passing, passing by.
Wonderful songs, but born to die!
Cries from the infinite human seas,
Waves thrice-winged with harmonies.
Here I stand on a pier in the foam
Seeing the songs to the beach go home,
Dying in sand while the tide flows back,
As it flowed of old in its fated track.
Oh, hurrying tide that will not hear
Your own foam children dying near
Is there no refuge-house of song,
No home, no haven where songs belong?
Oh, precious hymns that come and go!
You perish, and I love you so!

III. Stars

Stars, I have seen them fall,
But when they drop and die
No star is lost at all
From all the star-sown sky.
The toil of all that be
Helps not the primal fault;
It rains into the sea,
And still the sea is salt.

IV. The Factory Window Song

Factory windows are always broken.
Somebody’s always throwing bricks,
Somebody’s always heaving cinders,
Playing ugly yahoo tricks.

Factory windows are always broken.
Other windows are let alone.
No one throws through the chapel-window
The bitter, snarling, derisive stone.

Factory windows are always broken.
Something or other is going wrong.
Something is rotten I think, in Denmark.

V. In the Morning

In the morning, in the morning,
in the happy field of hay,
Oh they looked at one another
by the light of day.

In the blue and silver morning
In the haycock as they lay,
Oh they looked at one another
And they looked away.

VI. Because I Liked You Better

Because I liked you better
Than suits a man to say,
It irked you, and I promised
To throw the thought away.

To put the world between us
We parted, stiff and dry;
“Good-bye,” said you, “forget me.”
“I will, no fear,” said I.

If here, where clover whitens
The dead man’s knoll, you pass,
And no tall flower to meet you
starts in the trefoiled grass,

Halt by the headstone naming
The heart no longer stirred,
And say the lad that loved you
was one that kept his word.

VII. The Half-Moon Westers Low

The half-moon westers low, my love,
And the wind brings up the rain;
And wide apart we lie, my love,
And seas between the twain.

I know not if it rains, my love,
In the land where you do lie
And oh, so sound you sleep, my love.
You know no more than I.