The Great War

from The Volunteer and Other Poems, an electronic edition

The Silver Birch.

O SILVER one, O silver one,

Above the valley of the Bane:

O stem with snow-water agleam,

And glistening limbs, and trails of pearl.

The sun has sent a slanting kiss:

Red fire and gold, his arrows burn:

Now that he aims a shaft at thee,

Red fire and gold to silver turn!

When I am spent with the ways of men.

I'll wash my hands in melting snow:

And live with thee among the oaks,

And watch the river swirl below.

But I must ever be travelling

From sea to sea, from shoal to shoal:

Farewell ! O still and beautiful,

I would thy valley were my goal!