This poem arrived in a letter after his death, fighting in Tunisia 1943
Woman of Sleep
Tempt me not with dalliance, Woman of Sleep
Light-footed and swift, to the silk couch of night
For here, though your lips and your arms offer love,
You are sold to the terrors that hide from the light.
I have passed you at dark in the folds of the hills,
Heard you low singing, would fain have turned back,
But I saw the smooth Treachery kissing your mouth,
Death leered through your tresses and clung to your back.
Come to me, rather, as sister or mother,
When I, closing my eyes in the cool mid-day breeze,
May imagine the sunshine that splinters through woods
And floods the warm meadows I left overseas.
Woman of Sleep, though men woo you by starlight,
I greet you by sun when you cannot betray,
As now as - half dreaming - some African bird
Is a sweet thrush that sings to the Tees far away.
In sunlight and safety then, let me sink deeper,
Hearing the sounds that once made the night good:
The cawing of rooks soaring home 'cross the sun,
The last bark of a dog beyond Ettington wood.
But bring not at dusk your breast for my head
As when we made love in the years without care,
For I have seen men, who had kissed you in darkness,
Wake to your cold sister Death's chilly stare.