The Apple Tree London, 1941
You stood amid the ruins of a street,
Set in a garden where no bounds remained,
An apple tree with branches all arrayed
In blossom that proclaimed the breath of Spring.
But far about you, in the shapeless waste,
The bricks and dust and timber heaped and spread;
The gaping rooms where walls had fallen away,
The sagging floor, the rafters dropped awry,
And scattered ruin where there once had been
The homes of kindly, long-enduring men.
Within a meagre garden you had grown,
With stark, unlovely houses in close line
Where railway, gas works, factory hemmed you in.
You stood there when the rending hand of War
Tore down the houses and upon you hurled
The murd’rous debris and the shards of steel,
But now the surge of life has healed again
And hid your wounds beneath a veil of green.
From either wilderness of peace or war
Your beauty chides us, bidding us again
To build more worthily where you may reign,
An apple tree with all the bloom of Spring.
S. F. B. Lane