I Write These Lines Upon A Sheet Of Paper - Poem by David Mitchell
I write these lines upon a sheet of paper
That someone made from what was once a forest
Without much thought (as I suspect) for nature:
Does this not fill my heart with guilty sorrow?
Or is its lifeblood more akin to water
That runs in rivers under cloud and sunshine?
Why am I so affected by the sunshine?
All that I do - whether I read the paper,
Or, being thirsty, drink a glass of water,
Or walk amid the tall trees of the forest,
If there's no sun, my mind is fill'd with sorrow,
And if it shines, gladness is in my nature.
But gladness is not always in the nature
Of all terrestrial things, whether the sunshine
Dispels from my own mind some part of sorrow
For many men and creatures, as the paper
I read informs me, live within a forest
Of woe, and some have not a dropp of water.
One dropp of that mysterious liquid, water,
Would save a living animal, by nature,
Whether it dwelt in pasture or in forest,
However little it received of sunshine,
It cannot be exprest by lines on paper
How marv'llously that liquid quenches sorrow.
How much may we, the lucky living, sorrow,
For those who have been drown'd by cruel water,
The greater part of whom are not on paper
Recorded: but the cruelty of Nature
Alone knows. May their souls in heavenly sunshine
Be rested, and walk peaceful through that forest.
I think that life itself is like the forest,
A dark one, where one knows not whether sorrow
Will come, or else a glade o'erspread by sunshine,
That suddenly becomes a fall of water
That patters down in raindrops, in its nature.
Will those trees bloom or turn to crumpled paper?
I'll use no further paper from the forest:
My nature does not wish for you to sorrow,
But sit by flowing water in the sunshine.
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