The Wind at the Door

By William Barnes 1801–1886 William Barnes
As day did darken on the dewless grass,
There, still, wi’ nwone a-come by me
To stay a-while at hwome by me
Within the house, all dumb by me,
I zot me sad as the eventide did pass.

An’ there a win’blast shook the rattlèn door,
An’ seemed, as win’ did mwoan without,
As if my Jeäne, alwone without,
A-stannèn on the stwone without,
Wer there a-come wi’ happiness oonce mwore.

I went to door; an’ out vrom trees above
My head, upon the blast by me,
Sweet blossoms wer a-cast by me,
As if my Love, a-past by me,
Did fling em down—a token ov her love.

“Sweet blossoms o’ the tree where I do murn,”
I thought, “if you did blow vor her,
Vor apples that should grow vor her,
A-vallèn down below vor her,
O then how happy I should zee you kern!”

But no. Too soon I voun my charm a-broke.
Noo comely soul in white like her—
Noo soul a-steppèn light like her—
An’ nwone o’ comely height like her
Went by; but all my grief ageän awoke.

Source: Poets of the English Language (Viking Press, 1950)

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Poet William Barnes 1801–1886



Subjects Love, Relationships, Unrequited Love, Heartache & Loss


Multitalented poet and autodidact William Barnes was born in Rushay, Dorset, in southern England. He worked as a clerk and a schoolmaster before earning a bachelor of divinity from Cambridge and becoming an ordained minister in the Church of England. He was a strong supporter of the Dorset dialect. When he died in 1886, his Saturday Review obituary read, “There is no doubt that he is the best pastoral poet we possess, the most . . .

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SUBJECT Love, Relationships, Unrequited Love, Heartache & Loss



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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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