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A poem by John Freeman

The Ash

Title:     The Ash
Author: John Freeman [More Titles by Freeman]

The undecaying yew has shed his flowers
Long since in golden showers.
The elm has robed her height
In green, and hangs maternal o'er the bright
Starred meadows, and her full-contented breast
Lifts and sinks to rest.
Shades drowsing in the grass
Beneath the hedge move but as the hours pass.
Beech, oak and beam have all put beauty on
In the eye of the sun.
Because the hawthorn's sweet
All the earth is sweet and the air, and the wind's feet.
In the wood's green hollows the earth is sweet and wet,
For scarce one shaft may get
The sudden green between:
Only that warm sweet creeps between the green;
Or in the clearing the bluebells lifting high
Make another azure sky.

All's leaf and flower except
The sluggish ash that all night long has slept,
And all the morning of this lingering spring.
Every tree else may sing,
Every bough laugh and shake;
But the ash like an old man does not wake
Even though draws near the season's poise and noon
Of heavy-poppied swoon ...
Still the ash is asleep,
Or from his lower upraised palms now creep
First green leaves, promising that even those gaunt
Tossed boughs shall be the haunt
Of Autumn starlings shrill
Mid his full-leaved high branches never still.

If to any tree,
'Tis to the ash that I might likened be--
Masculine, unamenable, delaying,
With palms uplifted praying
For another life and Spring
Yet unforeshadowed; but content to swing
Stiff branches chill and bare
In this fine-quivering air
That others' love makes sweetness everywhere.

[The end]
John Freeman's poem: Ash