ONE green spot in the pasture he knew well
Was holy. Something, any boy could tell,
There was about this place. Here was a square
Wall of turf. A house had once stood there;
A hundred years of grass and the white clover
Had never been able to cover the cellar over.
It slanted down in one place steep and deep;
Never the merriest lambs among the sheep
Dared to venture into this breathless dell,
And what long years ago had been a well
Had gone back into wildness as a pool
With ferns curved over water, blue and cool
As the sky it came from, after the thunder.
But what was the node and heart of this deep wonder
Was a briar rose barbed fierce with thorns,
And it held up some long-dead deer’s sharp horns.

Wild branches built by blood! And blood of the deer
Still ran in them among branches with clear
Rose-blood in them. Blossoms on this briar
Were pinker than the sky when set on fire
By summer dawns. No other roses grew
So sweet or large as these. Yet the boy knew
He must never, never pick or touch them,
However hard his fingers ached to clutch them,
Nor ever put his hot feet in the blue
Water there or brush those ferns which grew
Deeply over it. It was not right to do it ;
He did not know the reason, yet he knew it.
Somewhere in old books he had read of a thing
That came over men at some pool like the wing
Of a great bird flying. By the water’s side
They knelt bowed down in thirst until they died.