A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Woodland Lovers

While leaves were green, I gave
Veneration to my sweetheart's leafy bower.
Sweet it was awhile, my love,
To live under the birch grove,
Sweeter still to clasp fondly
Hidden together in our woodland hide,
Strolling together by the seashore,
Lingering together by the wood-shore,
Planting birches together, goodly task!
Weaving the branches together,
Love-talking with my slender girl.

An innocent occupation for a girl -
To stroll the forest with her lover,
To mirror expressions, to smile together,
To laugh together and, mouth to mouth,
To lie together in the grove,
To shun others, to complain together,
To live together kindly, drinking mead,
To repose together, to celebrate love,
To keep love's secret cordon, covertly:
Truly, I have no need to tell you more.

ANON (c. 14th century)

This poem was included in a book I brought back from Ireland with me earlier this year: The Book Of Celtic Verse: A Treasury Of Poetry, Dreams & Visions, edited by John Matthews. It's a handsome volume, hardback, and with a green and gold cover.


The Weaver of Grass said...

You have got an old Irish charmer of a poet there and no mistake Robert.

The Solitary Walker said...

Old charms are the most efficacious, Pat?

Dominic Rivron said...

Interesting that. Did I hear someone on TV the other week (Ronald Blythe?) talking about or did I read in Deakin's Wildwood the fact that in the past romance went on in the woods, there being no privacy in house where many people shared a room? For centuries, he claimed, most people in Britain were conceived in the woods.

The Solitary Walker said...

That sounds about right, Dominic. Which is why a peak in births used to occur in April and May - 9 months after the months most warmly conducive for woodland recreation, July and August.

KleinsteMotte said...

If only we could read it in it's original. That would make id doubly special.

Ruth said...

Now I find out why I was drawn to the woods and think of them as "my landscape." But wait, something's amiss, for this ne'er happened to me . . .

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes - my Celtic is very poor, KleinsteMotte!

Probably best kept in the imagination, Ruth. After all, it does sound a bit uncomfortable, and probably damp and chilly too...