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"The Call of the Forest", Urgyen Sangharakshita
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Submitted By: Anonymous on October 07, 2015
About the Video: Visit http://www.norwichenglish.co.uk for more poetry.
Read in a southern British accent (RP).
Reading © 2015 Martin Harris.

The Call of the Forest
by Urgyen Sangharakshita

What does the forest whisper
With every wind-stirred leaf,
From many-centuried oak tree
To hour-old blossom-sheaf?
What does the forest whisper
When nightingales are dumb
And cícadas fall silent?
The forest whispers, ‘Come’.

What does the forest whisper
In sunshine and in shade,
Down every moss-hung alley,
In each deer-haunted glade?
What does the forest whisper
When full or crescent moon
Steeps nodding crests in silver?
The forest whispers, ‘Soon’.

What does the forest whisper
From depths primeval, where
A sound is lost in stillness
As clouds dissolve in air?
What does the forest whisper
When from the darkling bough
Drop one by one the dead leaves?
The forest whispers, ‘Now’.

But the whisper’s a dream-whisper,
For years on years have flown
Since oak and ash and holly
Could call the land their own.
The whisper’s a dream-whisper,
For Cities of the Plain
Usurp the once-green kingdom
Of forests they have slain.

The whisper’s a dream-whisper,
For ‘forest’ is a dream
Of days when Man through Nature
Had sense of a Supreme.
The whisper’s a dream-whisper
Of a time when he could feel
In the pressure of the actual
The touch of the Ideal.

The whisper’s a dream-whisper,
But dreams are of the Soul
And Soul itself a forest
Beyond the mind’s control.
The whisper’s a Soul-whisper,
That like a muffled drum
Calls, ‘From your mind-built Cities,
O Man, to Freedom come!’
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