The wood so softly singing
In a language strange to hear
And the song it sings will find you
As the twilight draws you near



I went out to the wild places to see where the Spring had come, and where she was still biding her time in the closed bud's seclusion, and guarding warmth yet beneath the folded petals. The Earth was soft in the wooded cwm and I stood on a rock in the rushing stream while the waters flowed around me. To one side the bank was full of bright green leaves of wood-garlic, on the other the grey rock was piled high and clothed with a hundred shades of green and yellow from the many mosses that grow there - as beautiful and exotic a garden as one could wish for. Back on the bank I saw a single flower of wood-anemone showing bright yellow stamens in the white petals though the leaves were still unfolded. And yellow was the colour that speckled the green of the roadside verges, with coltsfoot in the gravelly place and daffodils by the garden paths and dandelion and celandine under the bare twigs on the hedges.

Now the day has come when the banks are brighted with as much yellow as there is green and primroses grace the woodland floor and the trees are a rustle of wind-blown leaves. So I watched for a while over the wood and my heart called out again to go to the place of trees: to see my lady there. Her green cowl about her brown hair, she walks through the grey woods. She treads a path of ragged leaves and petals open as she goes, yellow buds unfold on every green stem. She casts her green cloak over the brown land and the woods come alive to look upon her. Her dewy skin as soft as lady-fern leaves, and moist like a buttercup looks in the morning grass. The Wind sighs as her scent sails on the morning air.


A Dream

"It was by a pool such as this," said one of us, after a long interval, "that dreamers of old called to Connla, and Connla heard. That was the mortal name of one whose name we know not." "Call him now," whispered the Body eagerly. The Soul leaned forward, and stared into the fathomless brown dusk. "Speak, Connla! Who art thou?" .....

 "I am of those who wait yet a while. I am older than all age, for my youth is Wisdom; and I am younger than all youth, for I am named To-morrow." We heard no more. In vain, together, separately, we sought to break that silence which divides the mortal moment from hourless time. The Soul himself could not hear, or see, or even remember, because of that mortal raiment of the flesh which for a time he had voluntarily taken upon himself. "I will tell you a dream that is not all a dream," he said at last, after we had lain a long while pondering what that voice had uttered, ..... 

"It was night, and I was alone in a waste place. My feet were entangled among briars and thorns, and beside me was a quagmire. On the briar grew a great staff, and beside it a circlet of woven thorn. I could see them, in a soft, white light. It must have been moonlight, for on the other side of the briar I saw, in the moonshine, a maze of wild roses. They were lovely and fragrant. I would have liked to take the staff, but it was circled with the thorn-wreath; so I turned to the moonshine and the wild roses. It was then that I saw a multitude of tall and lovely figures, men and women, all rose-crowned, and the pale, beautiful faces of the women with lips like rose-leaves. They were singing. It was the Song of Delight. I, too, sang. And as I sang, I wondered, for I thought that the eyes of those about me were heavy with love and dreams, as though each had been pierced with a shadowy thorn. But still the song rose, and I knew that the flowers in the grass breathed to it, and that the vast slow cadence of the stars was its majestic measure. Then the dawn broke, and I saw all the company, winged and crested with the seven colours, press together, so that a rainbow was upbuilded. In the middle space below the rainbow, a bird sang. Then I knew I was that bird; and as the rainbow vanished, and the dawn grew grey and chill, I sank to the ground. But it was all bog and swamp. I knew I should sing no more. But I heard voices saying: "O happy, wonderful bird, who has seen all delight, whose song was so rapt, sing, sing, sing!" 

Fiona Macleod