The Way Through the Woods

by Rudyard Kipling


They shut the road through the woods

Seventy years ago.

Weather and rain have undone it again,

And now you would never know

There once was a road through the woods

Before they planted the trees.

It is underneath in the coppice and heath,

And the thin anemones.

Only the keeper sees,

That where the ring-dove broods,

And the badgers roll at ease,

There was once a road through the woods.


Yet, if you enter the woods

Of a summer evening late,

When the night-air cools on the trout ringed pools

Where the otter whistles his mate

(They fear not men in the woods Because they are so few)

You will hear the beat of a horse's feet

And the swish of a skirt in the dew,

Steadily cantering through

The misty solitudes

As though they perfectly knew

The old lost road through the woods...

But there is no road through the woods.