Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 2. I HEARD THE VOICE OF THE WOODS, by EDWARD CARPENTER



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TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 2. I HEARD THE VOICE OF THE WOODS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I heard the voice of the woods and of the grass
Last Line: Walk: and leave all to me.
Subject(s): Democracy; Speech; Voices; Oratory; Orators


I HEARD the voice of the woods and of the grass growing silently and of the
delicate bending ferns,
And it said:
For the dumb and for the generations of them that have no voice my speech
is—
For them too help comes.

I am the spirit of the Earth.
Round me the woods and mountains roll, rising and falling to the far sea;
In the hollow below me roars the great river to its doom;
The clouds draw onward; and the voices of the generations of men are woven
like thin gossamer through the air about me.
Yet here where I am there is peace—such as mortal yet on earth hath
hardly known,
But which shall be known, and even now is known.

Where the stems stand dividing the winnowed sunlight,
Where the green floor is dappled with soft warm moss, and the swift hum of
the bee is heard,
And the air glides through like a gracious spirit in-breathing beauty,
I walk—meditating the voiceless children, drawing them to myself with
deep unearthly love.

Come unto me, O yearning and inarticulate (for whom so many ages I have
waited),
Breathing your lives out like a long unuttered prayer,
Come unto me: and I will give you rest.
For I am not the woods nor the grass nor the bending ferns;
Nor any pale moonlight spirit of these;
And I am not the air;
Nor the light multitudinous life therein;
Nor the sun and its radiant warmth;
But I am one who include—and am greater—
One (out of thousands) who hold all these, embosomed,
Safe in my heart: fear not.
In your eyes deep-looking I will touch you so as to be free from all pain;
Where the last interpretations are, in the uttermost recesses, I will reach
you;
Utterance at length shall your pent-up spirit have,
To pour out all that is in you—to speak and be not afraid.

Dear brother, listen!
I am no shadow, no fickle versemaker's fiction,
Many are the words which are not spoken, but here there is speech;
Many are the words which are not spoken, but in due time all shall be
spoken:
There is neither haste nor delay, but all shall be spoken

Come up into the fragrant woods and walk with me.
The voices of the trees and the silent-growing grass and waving ferns
ascend;
Beyond the birth-and-death veil of the seasons they ascend and are born
again;
The voices of human joy and misery, the hidden cry of the heart—they
too ascend into new perpetual birth.
All is interpreted anew:
In man the cataracts descend, and the winds blow, and autumn reddens and
ripens;
And in the woods a spirit walks which is not wholly of the woods,
But which looks out over the wide Earth and draws to itself all men with
deep unearthly love.
Come, walk with me:
On the soft moss—though you guess not my arm is about you—
By the white stems, where the gracious air is breathing,
On the green floor, through the pale green winnowed sunlight,
Walk: and leave all to me.





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