Without Jocelyn’s authorial initials, there is a second copy as the inner wrapper of the funeral file’s poems. Perhaps it is just a lengthy way of saying Never, including the last line.
If so, I don’t know what is thus banned It is rather an elaborate ‘Goodbye’, for the work of a very ill man
I have already copied this as a poem given to me on November 30th 1953, ‘Where
haws along bedraggled hedgerows burn’
It was published in the parish magazine of St Matthews church, Newport, December
1986. That was after Jocelyn died, but showing her plans to him some months before may have encouraged him to think she would join his last-minute accession to the Roman church. If so, then her ‘Themselvesness’ was her answer.
Perhaps Jocelyn had read ADVENT then and appreciated it. There are two verbal alterations from the 1953 version, and some added punctuation … enough to justify her early objection to my publishing what she gave me; but now that she can make no improvements I want to publish all she wrote. In the funeral file there is also the text of a carol service she arranged for St Matthews, including seldom heard readings, one of them George Herbert’s on Christmas.
3. There was never enchantment between us, of sense or of sight ,
This too I have already copied. I had received it, on 11th October 1961, as yet another invented character in an invented situation; but both then, when Marion had just seen Jocelyn off to a lecturership in Birmingham and when he had died, several people thought it expressed the colour he brought to her life. But it hadn’t been written for him. She told me she began it two years before, and she strongly denied that she would ever have adopted the unreasoning attitude of the ‘I’ in the poem, and added the sin of despair to the pain of grief. For the funeral reading she changed ‘shuddering’ in l.8 to ‘flickering’, and more importantly l.10 to
‘Love is more than the mirth of two who meet on a stair’. The final two lines now express a sense of beauty lost, and the emptiness remaining.
The beauty did not belong to Jocelyn, but to what he could make apparent.
Poetry already written out of her knowledge of human pain could, and must, serve the new experience, but serve it truly.
4. Dead with the leaves, dead with the summer’s dying,
You who sang sweetly now silent, now silent lying,
Come, come again:
Come in the misty sunlight, in the blue air’s frosty glow,
In the wind, in the sudden drenching autumn rain,
In the great undemanding silence of new-fallen snow.
Come at my call, come at my song’s persuading,
Speak to my heart of a sweetness, a sweetness fading,
Lost, lost for shame :
Lost in the panic of pride, in the lusting of sense and sight,
In haste, in unworthy dread of rebuff or blame, in the tongue-tied Inadvertency of too swift delight.
Grant but a pause, grant but a little staying,
Pause like a bird of the summer, with summer delaying,
Stay, stay for me :
Stay for my coming, I come with what speed I may ,
Impatient of mortal longing I hasten to see
Whether death can be truly shadowed in what poets say.
4 October 1955