Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IN THE WOODS, by PAUL VERLAINE



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IN THE WOODS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Other people - innocents or lunatics / find in the woods only pallid charms
Last Line: Sound like waiting assassins plotting to strike.
Subject(s): Fear; Forests; Night; Woods; Bedtime


Other people -- innocents or lunatics --
Find in the woods only pallid charms,
Fresh breezes and warm scents. They are fortunate!
Others, dreamers, are seized with mystic dread.

They are fortunate! While I, nervous, maddened
By a vague, terrifying, and relentless remorse,
Tremble in the forest: I am like a coward
Who fears an ambush or thinks he sees a corpse.

These huge branches, ever restless as the sea,
Whence dark silence falls with shadows yet
Darker: all this dim, sinister scenery
Fills me with horror at once trivial and profound.

The worst are summer evenings: the red of sunset
Dissolves into gray-blue mists, which it dyes
With fire and blood; the angelus, ringing far off,
Seems an approaching plaintive cry.

The wind rises, heavy and warm; a shiver passes
And repasses, ever increasing, in the denseness
Ever deepening of the tall oaks: it possesses
And is dispersed like a miasma into space.

Night comes, the owl takes flight. This is the moment
When old wives' tales throng into the mind . . .
Under a thicket, over there, over there, spring waters
Sound like waiting assassins plotting to strike.





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