Ammon Wrigley - "Inscriptions"

The following is a transcription of a work by Saddleworth poet Ammon Wrigley (1861-1946).


When I sit by the hearth at midnight alone,
And the fire burns low in the bars;
While out in the dark fields the night winds moan,
Writhing in pain under the stars;
When I doze in my chair, ’twixt waking and sleep,
Dim faces peer out of the gloom,
And forms I have laid in the gravelands deep
Come silently back to my room.
And there’s one dear face looks over my chair,
A face that I cannot but know,
For my mother’s smile is still playing there,
As it played in the long ago;
And the same brown hair is braided so neat,
And bound with a tortoise-shell comb,
While the same hazel eyes, so tender and sweet,
Bring back to me all that was home.
I see the long windows white-curtained at night,
The hearth, and each chair in its place;.
And my mother, she leans o’er her needles bright,
With the firelight warm on her face.
My father sits high in his great armchair,
And sings the wild songs of the moor;
There was joy in that home, though its walls were bare,
With sand from the brook on its floor.
My mother, she gave me her sympathies wide,
Her scorn for the foul and the mean,
Her love of the right, and her native born pride
Of all that is honest and clean;
She wished me no braggart, loud shouting and vain,
No lover of pomp and display,
But hoped I'd be simple, straight-forward, and plain,
Nor pose as superior clay.
She showed me the fields of fairest thought;
But alas! I grope at the gate;
Where the dust lies thick on all I have wrought,
For mine is the dreamer’s fate;
Yet never a lark song comes to my ears
But bids me awake and rejoice,
And never a moon yellows over the meres
But strange yearnings struggle for voice.
And over my chair comes another dear face,
Red flushed by the wind of the hill,
In its rough, strong lines, how well I can trace
The sweet gifts of the uplands still;
And the fire that burns in my inmost heart,
How well do I know what it means,
It’s the love of the moors,—the passionate part
Of the blood in my father’s veins.
He left me no lands, no farms in my span,
No titles or riches had he;
But he left me the grit which makes a man
Who will bend not the fawning knee,
He bade me respect the rights of the great,
But hoped it would never be said
That I had laid my manhood under their feet,
And bartered the spirit inbred.
My way is a way that is little trod,
I am bound to no sect or creed;
But I say my prayers to nature’s God
In the fields where the lapwings breed.
The wind is my preacher, sincere and strong;
Its text, the Infinite free!
And never a sermon from human tongue
Is half so divine unto me!

Ammon Wrigley - "Inscriptions"


This page was last modified on 14 August 2018 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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