Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE GOAT PATHS, by JAMES STEPHENS



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THE GOAT PATHS, by         Recitation     Poet's Biography
First Line: The crooked paths / go every way
Last Line: Of my mind.
Subject(s): Goats; Solitude; Loneliness


(1)

The crooked paths
Go every way
Upon the hill
-- They wind about
Through the heather,
In and out
Of a quiet
Sunniness.

And the goats,
Day after day
Stray
In sunny quietness;
Cropping here,
And cropping there
-- As they pause,
And turn,
And pass --
Now a bit
Of heather spray,
Now a mouthful
Of the grass.

(2)

In the deeper
Sunniness;
In the place
Where nothing stirs;
Quietly
In quietness;
In the quiet
Of the furze
They stand a while;
They dream;
They lie;
They stare
Upon the roving sky.

If you approach
They run away!
They will stare,
And stamp,
And bound,
With a sudden angry sound,
To the sunny
Quietude:
To crouch again,
Where nothing stirs,
In the quiet
Of the furze.
To crouch them down
Again,
And brood,
In the sunny
Solitude.

(3)

Were I but
As free
As they,
I would stray
Away
And brood;
I would beat
A hidden way,
Through the quiet
Heather spray,
To a sunny
Solitude.

And should you come
I'd run away!
I would make an angry sound,
I would stare,
And stamp,
And bound
To the deeper
Quietude;
To the place
Where nothing stirs
In the quiet
Of the furze.

(4)

In that airy
Quietness
I would dream
As long as they:
Through the quiet
Sunniness
I would stray
Away
And brood,
All among
The heather spray
In a sunny
Solitude

(5)

-- I would think
Until I found
Something
-- I can never find
Something
Lying
On the ground,
In the bottom
Of my mind.





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