“The Shrieking Pit”—Opening Poem to His Novel by the Same Name, by Arthur J. Rees, 1918


The sea beats in at Blakeney—
Beats wild and waste at Blakeney;
O’er ruined quay and cobbled street,
O’er broken masts of fisher fleet,
Which go no more to sea.

The bitter pools at ebb-tide lie,
In barren sands at Blakeney;
Green, grey and green the marshes creep,
To where the grey north waters leap
By dead and silent Blakeney.

And Time is dead at Blakeney—
In old, forgotten Blakeney;
What care they for Time’s Scythe or Glass;
Who do not feel the hours pass,
Who sleep in sea-worn Blakeney?

By the old grey church in Blakeney,
By quenched turret light in Blakeney,
They slumber deep, they do not know,
If Life’s told tale is Death and Woe;
Through all eternity.

But Love still lives at Blakeney,
‘Tis graven deep at Blakeney;
Of Love which seeks beyond the grave,
Of Love’s sad faith which fain would save—
The headstones tell the story.

Grave-grasses grow at Blakeney
Sea pansies, sedge, and rosemary;
Frail fronds thrust forth in dim dank air,
A message from those lying there:
Wan leaves of memory.

I send you this from Blakeney—
From distant, dreaming Blakeney;
Love and Remembrance: These are sure;
Though Death is strong they shall endure,
Till all things cease to be.

Arthur J. Reeves
Blakeney, Norfolk, 1918

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