Sunday, February 17, 2008

Winterbourne Mystery#2

As a child, some of my favourite poems were those with an air of mystery such as The Listeners by Walter de la Mare, Yeats's The Song of Wandering Aengus and William Allingham's The Fairies. I am still hoping that someone will produce a poem or story of this kind to attach to the picture of the boots, in the meantime, here is one of my old favourites which springs to mind when I consider that strange find by the stream at the edge of the woods:

The Way through the woods
THEY shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.

You lovers of Kipling will have recognised it, of course.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely one of my favourite poems, let alone Kipling poems. I bought a print of a watercolour some years ago an the basis that it looked to me like an illustration of that very poem. Thank you for that.

    And I liked the mysterious poems when I was a child too, particularly The Listeners. And, being Cornish, anything about smuggling.


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