A Path to the Woods


ITS friendship and its carelessness
Did lead me many a mile
Through goat’s-rue, with its dim caress,
And pink and pearl-white smile;
Through crowfoot, with its golden lure,
And promise of far things
And sorrel with its glance demure,
And wide-eyed wonderings.
It led me with its innocence,
As childhood leads the wise,
With elbows here of tattered fence,
And blue of wildflower eyes;
With whispers low of leafy speech,
And brook-sweet utterance;
With birdlike words of oak and beech,
And whistlings clear as Pan’s.
It led me with its childlike charm,
As candor leads desire,
Now with a clasp of blossomy arm,
A butterfly kiss of fire;
Now with a toss of tousled gold,
A barefoot sound of green;
A breath of musk, of mossy mould,
With vague allurements keen.
It led me with remembered things
Into an oldtime vale,
Peopled with faery glimmerings,
And flower-like fancies pale; Where fungus forms stood, gold and gray,
Each in a mushroom gown,
And, roofed with red, glimpsed far away,
A little toadstool town.
It led me with an idle ease,
A vagabond look and air,
A sense of ragged arms and knees
In weeds, seen everywhere;
It led me, as a gypsy leads,
To dingles no one knows,
With beauty burred with thorny seeds,
And tangled wild with rose.
It led me as simplicity
Leads age and its demands,
With bee-beat of its ecstasy,
And berry-stained touch of hands;
With round revealments, puff-ball white,
Through rents of weedy brown,
And petaled movements of delight
In rose-leaf limb and gown.
It led me on and on and on,
Beyond the Far Away,
Into a world long dead and gone,
The world of Yesterday:
A faery world of memory,
Faint with its hills and streams,
Wherein the child I used to be
Still wanders with his dreams.