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Poem by Edward Thomas
I LOVE roads: The goddesses that dwell Far along invisible Are my favourite gods. Roads go on While we forget, and are Forgotten like a star That shoots and is gone. On this earth 'tis sure We men have not made Anything that doth fade So soon, so long endure: The hill road wet with rain In the sun would not gleam Like a winding stream If we trod it not again. They are lonely While we sleep, lonelier For lack of the traveller Who is now a dream only. From dawn's twilight And all the clouds like sheep On the mountains of sleep They wind into the night. The next turn may reveal Heaven: upon the crest The close pine clump, at rest And black, may Hell conceal. Often footsore, never Yet of the road I weary, Though long and steep and dreary As it winds on for ever. Helen of the roads, The mountain ways of Wales And the Mabinogion tales, Is one of the true gods, Abiding in the trees, The threes and fours so wise, The larger companies, That by the roadside be, And beneath the rafter Else uninhabited Excepting by the dead; And it is her laughter At morn and night I hear When the thrush cock sings Bright irrelevant things, And when the chanticleer Calls back to their own night Troops that make loneliness With their light footsteps' press, As Helen's own are light. Now all roads lead to France And heavy is the tread Of the living; but the dead Returning lightly dance: Whatever the road bring To me or take from me, They keep me company With their pattering, Crowding the solitude Of the loops over the downs, Hushing the roar of towns And their brief multitude.
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