Wednesday, 17 October 2012

And Did Those Feet ..


I  love footpaths, towpaths, ash paths, cinder tracks, trails, trods, green lanes, deep lanes, sunken lanes, alleys, wynds, meanders, rides, byways, bridleways, holloways, lychways, rights of way, thoroughfares, droves, sheeptracks, rabbit runs. Every sort of path apart from psychopaths, in fact.  



















The best paths are those that the land remembers, that aren't even marked on maps.  They don't belong to us; we belong to them.  



The Path

Running along a bank, a parapet
That saves from the precipitous wood below
The level road, there is a path. It serves
Children for looking down the long smooth steep,
Between the legs of beech and yew, to where
A fallen tree checks the sight: while men and women
Content themselves with the road and what they see
Over the bank, and what the children tell.
The path, winding like silver, trickles on, 
Bordered and even invaded by thinnest moss
That tried to cover roots and crumbling chalk
With gold, olive, and emerald, but in vain.
The children wear it.  They have flattened the bank
On top, and silvered it between the moss
With the current of their feet, year after year.
But the road is houseless, and leads not to school. 
To see a child is rare there, and the eye 
Has but the road, the wood that overhangs
And underyawns it, and the path that looks 
As if it led on to some legendary 
Or fancied place where men have wished to go
And stay; till, sudden, it ends where the wood ends. 

Edward Thomas





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