Robert Graves: Babylon

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The child alone a poet is:
Spring and Fairyland are his.
Truth and Reason show but dim,
And all’s poetry with him.
Rhyme and music flow in plenty        5
For the lad of one-and-twenty,
But Spring for him is no more now
Than daisies to a munching cow;
Just a cheery pleasant season,
Daisy buds to live at ease on.        10
He’s forgotten how he smiled
And shrieked at snowdrops when a child,
Or wept one evening secretly
For April’s glorious misery.
Wisdom made him old and wary        15
Banishing the Lords of Faery.
Wisdom made a breach and battered
Babylon to bits: she scattered
To the hedges and ditches
All our nursery gnomes and witches.        20
Lob and Puck, poor frantic elves,
Drag their treasures from the shelves.
Jack the Giant-killer’s gone,
Mother Goose and Oberon,
Bluebeard and King Solomon.        25
Robin, and Red Riding Hood
Take together to the wood,
And Sir Galahad lies hid
In a cave with Captain Kidd.
None of all the magic hosts,        30
None remain but a few ghosts
Of timorous heart, to linger on
Weeping for lost Babylon.

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