Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


I Never Saw That Land Before

I never saw that land before, 
And now can never see it again; 
Yet, as if by acquaintance hoar 
Endeared, by gladness and by pain, 
Great was the affection that I bore 

To the valley and the river small, 
The cattle, the grass, the bare ash trees, 
The chickens from the farmsteads, all 
Elm-hidden, and the tributaries
Descending at equal interval; 

The blackthorns down along the brook 
With wounds yellow as crocuses 
Where yesterday the labourer's hook 
Had sliced them cleanly; and the breeze 
That hinted all and nothing spoke. 

I neither expected anything
Nor yet remembered: but some goal 
I touched then; and if I could sing 
What would not even whisper my soul 
As I went on my journeying, 

I should use, as the trees and birds did, 
A language not to be betrayed;
And what was hid should still be hid 
Excepting from those like me made 
Who answer when such whispers bid.

Credit


This poem is in the public domain.

Author


Edward Thomas

Philip Edward Thomas was born in London in 1878. A close friend of the poet Robert Frost, he wrote much of his poetry while serving as a soldier during World War I. He was killed in France on April 9, 1917.

Date Published: 1918-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/i-never-saw-land