The Way through The Woods

By Rudyard Kipling

They shut the road through the woods
      Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
      And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
      Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
      And the thin anemones.
      Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
      And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
      Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
      Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
      Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet,
      And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
      Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
      As though they perfectly knew
      The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.