Sunday, March 13, 2022

"I Sought the Wood in Winter"

I sought the wood in summer
       When every twig was green;
The rudest boughs were tender,
       And buds were pink between.
Light-fingered aspens trembled
       In fitful sun and shade,
And daffodils were golden
       In every starry glade.
The brook sang like a robin—
       My hand could check him where
The lissome maiden willows
       Shook out their yellow hair.

“How frail a thing is Beauty,”
       I said, “when every breath
She gives the vagrant summer
       But swifter woos her death.
For this the star dust troubles,
       For this have ages rolled:
To deck the wood for bridal
       And slay her with the cold.”

I sought the wood in winter
       When every leaf was dead;
Behind the wind-whipped branches
       The winter sun set red.
The coldest star was rising
       To greet that bitter air,
The oaks were writhen giants;
       Nor bud nor bloom was there.
The birches, white and slender,
       In deathless marble stood,
The brook, a white immortal,
       Slept silent in the wood.

“How sure a thing is Beauty,”
       I cried. “No bolt can slay,
No wave nor shock despoil her,
       No ravishers dismay.
Her warriors are the angels
       That cherish from afar,
Her warders people Heaven
       And watch from every star.
The granite hills are slighter,
       The sea more like to fail;
Behind the rose the planet,
       The Law behind the veil.”

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