In a Wood

by Thomas Hardy

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, Why mar sweet comradeship, Blighting with poison-drip Neighborly spray? Heart-halt and spirit-lame, City-opprest, Unto this wood I came As to a nest; Dreaming that sylvan peace Offered the harrowed ease? Nature a soft release From men?s unrest. But, having entered in, Great growths and small Show them to men akin? Combatants all! Sycamore shoulders oak, Bines the slim sapling yoke, Ivy-spun halters choke Elms stout and tall. Touches from ash, O wych, Sting you like scorn! You, too, brave hollies, twitch Sidelong from thorn. Even the rank poplars bear Illy a rival?s air, Cankering in black despair If overborne. Since, then, no grace I find Taught me of trees, Turn I back to my kind, Worthy as these. There at least smiles abound, There discourse trills around, There, now and then, are found Life-loyalties.