“Lincoln” by John Gould Fletcher



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:


The Modernist Journals Project

Project Gutenberg