Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern British Poetry
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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern British Poetry.  1920.
 
Lord Dunsany. 1878–
 
102. Songs from an Evil Wood
 
I

THERE is no wrath in the stars,
 
  They do not rage in the sky; 
I look from the evil wood 
  And find myself wondering why. 
  
Why do they not scream out         5
  And grapple star against star, 
Seeking for blood in the wood 
  As all things round me are? 
  
They do not glare like the sky 
  Or flash like the deeps of the wood;  10
But they shine softly on 
  In their sacred solitude. 
  
To their high, happy haunts 
  Silence from us has flown, 
She whom we loved of old  15
  And know it now she is gone. 
  
When will she come again, 
  Though for one second only? 
She whom we loved is gone 
  And the whole world is lonely.  20
  
And the elder giants come 
  Sometimes, tramping from far 
Through the weird and flickering light 
  Made by an earthly star. 
  
And the giant with his club,  25
  And the dwarf with rage in his breath, 
And the elder giants from far, 
  They are all the children of Death. 
  
They are all abroad to-night 
  And are breaking the hills with their brood,—  30
And the birds are all asleep 
  Even in Plug Street Wood! 
  
II

Somewhere lost in the haze
 
  The sun goes down in the cold, 
And birds in this evil wood  35
  Chirrup home as of old; 
  
Chirrup, stir and are still, 
  On the high twigs frozen and thin. 
There is no more noise of them now, 
  And the long night sets in.  40
  
Of all the wonderful things 
  That I have seen in the wood 
I marvel most at the birds 
  And their wonderful quietude. 
  
For a giant smites with his club  45
  All day the tops of the hill, 
Sometimes he rests at night, 
  Oftener he beats them still. 
  
And a dwarf with a grim black mane 
  Raps with repeated rage  50
All night in the valley below 
  On the wooden walls of his cage. 
  
III

I met with Death in his country,
 
  With his scythe and his hollow eye, 
Walking the roads of Belgium.  55
  I looked and he passed me by. 
  
Since he passed me by in Plug Street, 
  In the wood of the evil name, 
I shall not now lie with the heroes, 
  I shall not share their fame;  60
  
I shall never be as they are, 
  A name in the lands of the Free, 
Since I looked on Death in Flanders 
  And he did not look at me. 
 
 
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