The Great War

from November: Poems in War Time, an electronic edition

The Hill-Top Wood

UP In the hill-top wood

I heard the oak-trees sing

As only the great oaks can

When the leaves are down, and they fling

Their arms to the utmost span,

And exult in their brotherhood

Up on the top of the hill.

O but the air was good!

And to feel them glorying

As only the great oaks can,

In their stubbornness and the spring

That is in it--as in a man--!

To exult in their brotherhood

Up on the top of the hill!

I never thought that I could

Know in my flesh the thing

That only the great oaks can

When the leaves are down and they fling

Their arms out wide--but a man

Is at home in that great-oak-wood

Up on the top of the hill.

I climbed up among them, I stood

In the ranks of the trees that sing

As only the great oaks can,

All of the Wonderful Thing:

There, to my uttermost span,

I exulted in this that I could

Up on the top of the hill.

This that I one time would

If, sometime, the hour should bring

Me mastery!--now I can.

I hold it from taking wing:

I hold it, more wonderful than

Any wonder:--the Making Good

Of my Dream on the top of this hill.

I tumble out all the brood

Of Doubt from my boughs that I swing

As only a great oak can!

I exult with my branches: I fling

My arms to their utmost span:

I have come to my brotherhood

Up on the top of this hill.

You great hearts!--you that have stood

On this hill-top uttering,

As only the great oaks can,

Your wonder--to-day I bring

Another fragment of Man

To be of your brotherhood

Up on the top of the hill.