Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MAGIC WAY, by WILLIAM FORCE STEAD



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THE MAGIC WAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Of all the many roads I know
Last Line: Saving their village-cross green-stained and broken.


OF all the many roads I know,
Along one only I have been
That winds out of the world, to flow
By fields of more than sun-lit green,
Where not one common stone is seen,
But all is built by incantation,
And all is vision and imagination.

Oxford and Paris weary me,
And every town the sun shines on,
But round one road invisibly
A spirit broods, and webs are spun
That hold me; I am wrought upon,
Until I wonder in my confusion, --
Who waves the wand that weaves this bright-illusion?

What tugs now at my heart? -- why burn
Mine eyes as round and round I gaze?
I look thro' trees; to fields I turn;
They are not earth, but floating haze
And under-lighted by soft rays;
I am drawn on thro' dazzling showers,
While dizzily wave the wands of the unknown Powers.

There is some meaning that I fain
Would read in everything around;
It flickers, yet I look in vain;
Glittering willow trees that bound
The tip-toe brook veil a profound
Green secret under leafy screening;
Their trembling is deep awe of the hidden meaning.

This old decaying orchard, with
Blurred mistletoe and crusty boughs
Of moss and lichen, seems a myth
Where strange primeval forms arouse
Old memory, and long thought may drowse;
While the trees stand in Druid vesture
And reach their arms out in symbolic gesture.

What do their straining arms intend?
Would they delay me? -- On I go,
Until I find my journey's end
Deep in a wood, where tall oaks grow
And beech and fir, with fern below;
Twigs like dark hair, and sunset smouldering,
And spongy earth made sweet with dead leaves mouldering.

Have I then come too far? -- for now
I see a stone cross in the wood,
Waved round by many a wreathing bough,
Where once I know a village stood
And plain folk found that life was good;
But I can find of them no token,
Saving their village-cross green-stained and broken.





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