Trees and Men

This is another excerpt from Henry Williamson’s ‘Life in a Devon village’:

“Like the spirits of men, the trees are the shape of their suffering. The everlasting talons of the wind pierce them; the salt spray blights their buds as they break, corrupts the edges of the opening leaves, ruins the tender stems before they are set in their strength. They grow close and bent, with roots interwoven, their few branches rubbing brown sores under and against one another. The blast shakes them, and they cry out with the sharp and brittle cry of the mouse pieced by the talons of the brown wind-falcon. Do trees feel pain like men do they despair? We know that they die.

The spirit of the tree endures, like the spirit of man, to renew hope with the sun in the sky. Here among the black and savage thorns break the blossoms of its happy morning, the all of its endurance. Nothing so innocent as the opening buds of the blackthorn; the white petal beauty is of he air, wan-travelling starlight. Delicate and coral are the stamens within the white buds of the thorn; coral the lips of the bride, virginal, sad with all loveliness and ancient sunlight. “

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