In the gloom of whiteness,
In the great silence of snow,
A child was sighing
And bitterly saying: 'Oh,
They have killed a white bird up there on her nest,
The down is fluttering from her breast.'
And still it fell through that dusky brightness
On the child crying for the bird of the snow.
Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me
Remembering again that I shall die
And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks
For washing me cleaner than I have been
Since I was born into this solitude.
Between the far
Owl's chuckling first soft cry
And the first star.
A long stretched hour it was;
Remained; the early seeds
All safely sown.
And now, hark at the rain,
Windless and light,
Half a kiss, half a tear,
Are strewn with white goose feathers this June,
Like marks left behind by some one gone to the forest
To show his track. But he has never come back.
Down each green road a cottage looks at the forest.
Round one the nettle towers; two are bathed in flowers.
An old man along the green road to the forest
Strays from one, from another a child alone.
In the thicket bordering the forest,
All day long a thrush twiddles his song.
It is old, but the trees are young in the forest,
All but one like a castle keep, in the middle deep.
That oak saw the ages pass in the forest:
They were a host, but their memories are lost,
For the tree is dead: all things forget the forest
Excepting perhaps me, when now I see
The old man, the child, the goose feathers at the edge of the forest,
And hear all day long the thrush repeat his song.
A good selection of Edward Thomas's work can be found at this artistically designed site created by Mike Cope, obviously as a labor of love. (I thank him for the photo collage at the head of this entry, which I am afraid I shamelessly pinched from him.)
It seems I have no tears left. They should have fallen --
Their ghosts, if ghosts have tears, did fall -- that day ...
And silence, told me truths I had not dreamed,
And have forgotten since their beauty passed.
Edward Thomas volunteered for service in the Great War. While on duty, on April 9, 1917, he was killed in a shell bombardment. His collected poems were published posthumously in 1920.
The unfathomable deep
Forest, where all must lose
Their way, however straight
Or winding, soon or late;
They cannot choose.