THE RED ROAD
There used to be a red road running o'er the rise,
Dipping down to fernland and climbing to the skies;
And there among the tall trees the sleepy shadows lay,
And the forest birds were singing there the livelong day.
I used to like to walk there as the days grew old,
Beneath the stately gum-trees afire with sunset gold;
And watch the pale stars steal there, beyond the eastern hill,
Then trim my lamp, a nearer star, within my window-sill.
I used to hear the storm-winds among the ravaged trees;
I used to see the spring spread her dainty tapastries;
I used to watch the summer come with anger in her eye;
I breathed the very breath of life beneath my virgin sky.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
There isn't any forest there beside the cottage now;
The trees have bowed before the blade, the shrubs before the plough;
There isn't any red road; they've covered it with tar.
And the birds that come to steal the grain are strangers from afar.
The fallow lies behind me, my face is to the east;
I'm going from the haunts of man to haunts of bird and beast;
And somewhere near the sunrise, before my days are done
I'll build myself a resting place where still the red roads run.
John K Ewers