The Lemmings

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The Lemmings
written by John Masefield
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Once in a hundred years the Lemmings come
Westward, in search of food, over the snow;
Westward until the salt sea drowns them dumb;
Westward, till all are drowned, those Lemmings go.

Once, it is thought, there was a westward land
(Now drowned) where there was food for those starved things,
And memory of the place has burnt its brand
In the little brains of all the Lemming kings.

Perhaps, long since, there was a land beyond
Westward from death, some city, some calm place
Where one could taste God’s quiet and be fond
With the little beauty of a human face;

But now the land is drowned. Yet still we press
Westward, in search, to death, to nothingness.


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