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Thomas Hardy (Томас Харди)


In a Wood


    See ‘The Woodlanders’

Pale beech and pine so blue, 
Set in one clay, 
Bough to bough cannot you 
Live out your day? 
When the rains skim and skip, 
Why mar sweet comradeship, 
Blighting with poison-drip 
Neighbourly spray? 

Heart-halt and spirit-lame, 
City-opprest, 
Unto this wood I came 
As to a nest; 
Dreaming that sylvan peace 
Offered the harrowed ease –
Nature a soft release 
From men’s unrest. 

But, having entered in, 
Great growths and small 
Show them to men akin –
Combatants all! 
Sycamore shoulders oak, 
Bines the slim sapling yoke, 
Ivy-spun halters choke 
Elms stout and tall. 

Touches from ash, O wych, 
Sting you like scorn! 
You, too, brave hollies, twitch 
Sidelong from thorn. 
Even the rank poplars bear 
Lothly a rival’s air, 
Cankering in black despair 
If overborne. 

Since, then, no grace I find 
Taught me of trees, 
Turn I back to my kind, 
Worthy as these. 
There at least smiles abound, 
There discourse trills around, 
There, now and then, are found 
Life-loyalties. 

1887: 1896

Thomas Hardy's other poems:
  1. An Upbraiding
  2. I Rose and Went to Rou’tor Town
  3. Looking at a Picture on an Anniversary
  4. No Bell-Ringing
  5. Why She Moved House


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