Stone Trees

Last night a sword-light in the sky

Flashed a swift terror on the dark.

In that sharp light the fields did lie

Naked and stonelike; each tree stood

Like a tranced woman, bound and stark.

Far off the wood

With darkness ridged the riven dark.

And cows astonished stared with fear,

And sheep crept to the knees of cows,

And conies to their burrows slid,

And rooks were still in rigid boughs,

And all things else were still or hid.

From all the wood

Came but the owl's hoot, ghostly, clear.

In that cold trance the earth was held

It seemed an age, or time was nought.

Sure never from that stonelike field

Sprang golden corn, nor from those chill

Gray granite trees was music wrought.

In all the wood

Even the tall poplar hung stone still.

It seemed an age, or time was none . . .

Slowly the earth heaved out of sleep

And shivered, and the trees of stone

Bent and sighed in the gusty wind,

And rain swept as birds flocking sweep.

Far off the wood

Rolled the slow thunders on the wind.

From all the wood came no brave bird,

No song broke through the close-fall'n night,

Nor any sound from cowering herd:

Only a dog's long lonely howl

When from the window poured pale light.

And from the wood

The hoot came ghostly of the owl.

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