Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DEATH IN THE WOODS, by THOMAS MACDONAGH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

DEATH IN THE WOODS, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: When I am gone and you alone are living here still
Last Line: Sighing for thought of me when the winds are out on the hill.
Alternate Author Name(s): Macdonough, Thomas

WHEN I am gone and you alone are living here still,
You'll think of me when splendid the storm is on the hill,
Trampling and militant here -- what of their village street? --
For the baying of winds in the woods to me was music sweet.

Oh, for the storms again, and youth in my heart again!
My spirit to glory strained, wild in this wild wood then,
That now shall never strain -- though I think if the tempest should roll
I could rise and strive with Death, and smite him back from my soul.

But no wind stirs a leaf, and no cloud hurries the moon;
I know that to-night our lake with stars and shadows is strewn --
A night for a villager's death, who will shudder in his grave
To hear -- alas, how long! -- the winds above him rave.

How long! Ah Death, what art thou, a thing of calm or of storms?
Or twain -- their peace to them, to me thy valiant alarms?
Gladly I'd leave them this corpse in their churchyard to lay at rest
If my wind-swept spirit could fare on the hurricane's kingly quest.

And sure 'tis the fools of knowledge who feign that the winds of the world
Are but troubles of little calms, by the greater Calm enfurled! --
I know them for symbols of glory, and echoes of one Voice dread,
Sounding where spacious tempests house the greathearted Dead.

And what but a fool was I, crying defiancc to Death,
Who shall lead my soul from this calm to mingle with God's very breath! --
Who shall lead me hither perchance while you are waiting here still,
Sighing for thought of me when the winds are out on the hill.

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