To a dead tree~

To a dead tree~

Old tree thou art wither’d–I pass’d thee last year,
And the blackbird snug hid in thy branches did sing,
Thy shadow stretch’d dark o’er the grass sprouting near,
And thou wert as green as thy mates of the spring.
How alter’d since then! not a leaf hast thou got,
Thy honours brown round thee that clothed the tree;
The clown passeth by thee and heedeth thee not,
But thou’rt a warm source of reflection for me.

I think, while I view thee and rest on the stile,
Life’s bloom is as frail as the leaves thou hast shed;
Like thee I may boast of my honours awhile,
But new springs may blossom, and mine may be fled:
Fond friends may bend o’er the rais’d turf where I’m laid,
And warm recollection the past may look o’er,
And say by my life, as I say by thy shade,
“Last spring he was living, but now he’s no more.”

John Clare~