Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Trees Against The Sky


Pines against the sky,
Pluming the purple hill;
Pines . . . and I wonder why,
Heart, you quicken and thrill?
Wistful heart of a boy,
Fill with a strange sweet joy,
Lifting to Heaven nigh -
Pines against the sky.

Palms against the sky,
Failing the hot, hard blue;
Stark on the beach I lie,
Dreaming horizons new;
Heart of my youth elate,
Scorning a humdrum fate,
Keyed to adventure high -
Palms against the sky.

Oaks against the sky,
Ramparts of leaves high-hurled,
Staunch to stand and defy
All the winds of the world;
Stalwart and proud and free,
Firing the man in me
To try and again to try -
Oaks against the sky.

Olives against the sky
Of evening, limpidly bright;
Tranquil and soft and shy,
Dreaming in amber light;
Breathing the peace of life,
Ease after toil and strife . . .
Hark to their silver sigh!
Olives against the sky.

Cypresses glooming the sky,
Stark at the end of the road;
Failing and faint am I,
Lief to be eased of my load;
There where the stones peer white
in the last of the silvery light,
Quiet and cold I'll lie -
Cypresses etching the sky.

Trees, trees against the sky -
O I have loved them well!
There are pleasures you cannot buy,
Treasurers you cannot sell,
And not the smallest of these
Is the gift and glory of trees. . . .
So I gaze and I know now why
It is good to live - and to die. . . .
Trees and the Infinite Sky.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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