Cicely Fox Smith
The Finger Post - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
Across the field, beyond the church.
You see the sign post stand.
And towards the highway lean and lurch.
With crazy outstretched hand.
Faint marks upon whose surface show
Where letters once were traced;
Which wind and weather, long ago,
Have more than half effaced.
What matters it if near or far
The place whose name was writ?
The course the sign post bids you steer
Will never lead to it.
One moonless night (I sometimes think)
When all the cats were grey,
Some homebound reveller, filled with drink,
Came rolling up this way.
Who, pixy led, through wind and shower
Went rambling all night long,
And whiled away the passing hour
With staves of hiccuped song.
All night he tumbled out and in
Of thicket, ditch and mire,
Bestuck with burrs from heel to chin
And scratched by many a brier.
They led him round till dawn almost,
And last, in playful mood,
They changed him to a Finger Post
And left him there for good.
And still he stands and leans about
As he must surely fall,
And points the Road to Nowhere out
Where is no road at all.
He points the way through ditch and hedge,
And over field and furrow,
And water meadow speared with sedge
And banks where rabbits burrow.
By dale and down he points you still,
And on the skylines rim
The scarecrow from the windy Hill
Waves blithely back to him.
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