Like a gaunt, scraggly pine
Which lifts its head above the mournful sandhills;
And patiently, through dull years of bitter silence,
Untended and uncared for, starts to grow.
Ungainly, labouring, huge,
The wind of the north has twisted and gnarled its branches;
Yet in the heat of midsummer days, when thunder-clouds
ring the horizon,
A nation of men shall rest beneath its shade.
And it shall protect them all,
Hold everyone safe there, watching aloof in silence;
Until at last one mad stray bolt from the zenith
Shall strike it in an instant down to earth.
There was a darkness in this man; an immense and hollow
Of which we may not speak, nor share with him, nor
A darkness through which strong roots stretched down
wards into the earth
Towards old things;
[ . . . ]
John Gould Fletcher's poem "Lincoln" was published in the 1917 Some Imagist Poets anthology. To read this poem in full in a digitized version of this publication, follow the links below: