The South Downs
Anthony M. Ludovici
The Saturday Review, 27 January 1917
Reprinted in French Beans, p. 5
Amid the roar of wind and surf,
Beneath their skins of springy turf,
Tight-fitting to their mighty shapes,
Their deep thyme-scented breath escapes.
They sleep, these giants, side by side,
Their breasts right steep, their buttocks wide,
Their arms enlocked, their legs entwined,
Vast rolling leagues of wench and hind.
Patched o'er with brambles, heather, hawth,
Nor heeding man's small joys and wrath,
They've lain serenely in the sun
Since ever England was begun.
And, 'neath the gossamer that takes
Its sluggish flight as daylight breaks,
I almost see a god's great hand
Stretched down to stroke this sweep of land.
Were I a god, and loved smooth skin
Not less but more than anything,
I, too, would drop my hand at night
And stroke those hills until the light.