Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DOOMED OAK; IN IMITATION OF ANATOLE FRANCE, by EDMUND CHARLES BLUNDEN



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THE DOOMED OAK; IN IMITATION OF ANATOLE FRANCE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: In the warm wood bedipped with rosy day
Last Line: And brings the bisson mildews hurrying on.
Alternate Author Name(s): Blunden, Edmund
Subject(s): France, Anatole (1844-1924); Oak Trees


IN the warm wood bedipped with rosy day
The huge gnarled oak, the father of his race,
Stoops to the mound his battered battle-array,
And suns himself, a crone in a lone place.

His children choked beneath his darkness; he
Swelled his triumphant centuries with the dead;
Sent the sap swirling in strong arm and knee,
And breathed in heaven with his monarchic head.

But now his proudest branches are black bones
That start out dreadfully from his green crown,
And in his shattered bosom garrisons
Of mining grubs have driven their shafts deep down.

The spring sap comes to aggravate what bleeds
Corrupted from his stagnant bitter flesh,
A whole world in his mossy carcass breeds,
Grey lichen grips him in a rusty mesh.

Ever some nerveless timber that drew breath
In him, snaps on him, falls; one louder gust
Could close the centuried business of his death.
Aye, chance, to-day he topples to the dust.

For caterpillars with their emerald rings
Already from his suspect foliage veer;
A realm of insects lifting sharded wings
Of azure, scurry along his hide in fear.

Since yesterday the swarming bees have quit
Their clay smallholding in his boughs; the clan
Of hornets, struck this morn with panic fit,
Are gone to found a new fort where they can.

A lizard, where the trunk is gashed, darts out
His meagre head; surveys, and doubts; is gone.
O see, night wraps the icy hulk about,
And brings the bisson mildews hurrying on.





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