Verse > Thomas Hardy > Wessex Poems and Other Verses
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Thomas Hardy (1840–1928).  Wessex Poems and Other Verses.  1898.
 
39. In a Wood
 
 
PALE beech and pine-tree blue,
  Set in one clay,
Bough to bough cannot you
  Bide out your day?
When the rains skim and skip,        5
Why mar sweet comradeship,
Blighting with poison-drip
  Neighborly spray?
 
Heart-halt and spirit-lame,
  City-opprest,        10
Unto this wood I came
  As to a nest;
Dreaming that sylvan peace
Offered the harrowed ease—
Nature a soft release        15
  From men’s unrest.
 
But, having entered in,
  Great growths and small
Show them to men akin—
  Combatants all!        20
Sycamore shoulders oak,
Bines the slim sapling yoke,
Ivy-spun halters choke
  Elms stout and tall.
 
Touches from ash, O wych,        25
  Sting you like scorn!
You, too, brave hollies, twitch
  Sidelong from thorn.
Even the rank poplars bear
Illy a rival’s air,        30
Cankering in black despair
  If overborne.
 
Since, then, no grace I find
  Taught me of trees,
Turn I back to my kind,        35
  Worthy as these.
There at least smiles abound,
There discourse trills around,
There, now and then, are found
  Life-loyalties.

1887–1896.
        40
 

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