Michael Oaktree Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


Under an arch of glorious leaves I passedA
Out of the wood and saw the sickle moonB
Floating in daylight o'er the pale green seaC
It was the quiet hour before the sunD
Gathers the clouds to prayer and silentlyC
Utters his benediction on the wavesE
That whisper round the death bed of the dayF
The labourers were returning from the farmsG
And children danced to meet them From the doorsH
Of cottages there came a pleasant clinkI
Where busy hands laid out the evening mealJ
From smouldering elms around the village spireK
There soared and sank the caw of gathering rooksL
The faint flushed clouds were listening to the taleM
The sea tells to the sunset with one sighN
The last white wistful sea bird sought for peaceO
And the last fishing boat stole o'er the barP
And fragrant grasses murmuring a prayerQ
Bowed all together to the holy westR
Bowed all together thro' the golden hushS
The breathing hush the solemn scented hushS
The holy holy hush of eventideR
And in among the ferns that crowned the hillT
With waving green and whispers of the windR
A boy and girl carelessly linking handsU
Into their golden dream drifted awayF
On that rich afternoon of scent and songV
Old Michael Oaktree died It was not muchW
He wished for but indeed I think he longedR
To see the light of summer once againX
Blossoming o'er the far blue hills I knowY
He used to like his rough hewn wooden benchZ
Placed in the sun outside the cottage doorA2
Where in the listening stillness he could hearB2
Across the waving gilly flowers that crownedR
His crumbling garden wall the long low sighN
Of supreme peace that whispers to the hillsC2
The sacred consolation of the seaC
He did not hope for much he longed to liveD2
Until the winter came again he saidR
But on the last sweet eve of May he diedR
I wandered sadly through the dreaming lanesE2
Down to the cottage on that afternoonB
For I had known old Michael Oaktree nowF2
So many years so many happy yearsG2
When I was little he had carried meC
High on his back to see the harvest homeH2
And given me many a ride upon his wagonD
Among the dusty scents of sun and hayF
He showed me how to snare the bulky troutR
That lurked under the bank of yonder brookI2
Indeed he taught me many a country craftR
For I was apt to learn and as I learntR
I loved the teacher of that homely loreA2
Deep in my boyish heart he shared the gladR
Influence of the suns and winds and wavesE
Giving my childhood what it hungered forA2
The rude earth wisdom of the primal manJ2
He had retained his childhood Death for himK2
Had no more terror than his bed He walkedR
With wind and sunlight like a brother gladR
Of their companionship and mutual aidR
We toilers after truth are weaned too soonB
From earth's dark arms and naked barbarous breastR
Too soon too soon we leave the golden feastR
Fetter the dancing limbs and pluck the crownL2
Of roses from the dreaming brow We passM2
Our lives in most laborious idlenessN2
For we have lost the meaning of the worldR
We have gone out into the night too soonB
We have mistaken all the means of graceO2
And over rated our small power to learnP2
And the years move so swiftly over usN2
We have so little time to live in worldsQ2
Unrealised and unknown realms of joyR2
We are so old before we learn how vainS2
Our effort was how fruitlessly we castR
Our Bread upon the waters and how weakT2
Our hearts were but our chance desires how strongV
Then in the dark our sense of light decaysU2
We cannot cry to God as once we criedR
Lost in the gloom our faith perhaps our loveV2
Lies dead with years that never can returnP2
But Michael Oaktree was a man whose loveV2
Had never waned through all his eighty yearsG2
His faith was hardly faith He seemed a partR
Of all that he believed in He had livedR
In constant conversation with the sunD
The wind the silence and the heart of peaceO
In absolute communion with the PowerW2
That rules all action and all tides of thoughtR
And all the secret courses of the starsX2
The Power that still establishes on earthY2
Desire and worship through the radiant lawsZ2
Of Duty Love and Beauty for through theseA3
As through three portals of the self same gateR
The soul of man attains infinityC
And enters into Godhead So he gainedR
On earth a fore taste of Nirvana notR
The void of eastern dream but the desireW2
And goal of all of us whether thro' livesB3
Innumerable by slow degrees we nearC3
The death divine or from this breaking bodyC
Of earthly death we flash at once to GodR
Through simple love and simple faith this manJ2
Attained a height above the hope of kingsD3
Yet as I softly shut the little gateR
And walked across the garden all the scentsE3
Of mingling blossom ached like inmost painS2
Deep in my heart I know not why They seemedR
Distinct distinct as distant evening bellsF3
Tolling over the sea a secret chimeG3
That breaks and breaks and breaks upon the heartR
In sorrow rather than in sound a chimeG3
Strange as a streak of sunset to the moonB
Strange as a rose upon a starlit graveH3
Strange as a smile upon a dead man's lipsI3
A chime of melancholy mute as deathJ3
But strong as love uttered in plangent tonesK3
Of honeysuckle jasmine gilly flowersL3
Jonquils and aromatic musky leavesM3
Lilac and lilies to the rose wreathed porchN3
At last I tapped and entered and was drawnO3
Into the bedroom of the dying manJ2
Who lay propped up with pillows quietlyC
Gazing for through his open casement farP
Beyond the whispers of the gilly flowersL3
He saw the mellow light of eventideR
Hallow the west once more and as he gazedR
I think I never saw so great a peaceO
On any human face There was no soundR
Except the slumbrous pulsing of a clockP3
The whisper of the garden and far offQ3
The sacred consolation of the seaC
His wife sat at his bed side she had passedR
Her eightieth year her only child was deadR
She had been wedded more than sixty yearsG2
And she sat gazing with the man she lovedR
Quietly out into that unknown DeepR3
A butterfly floated into the roomS3
And back again pausing awhile to baskT3
And wink its painted fans on the warm sillT
A bird piped in the roses and there cameU3
Into the childless mother's ears a soundR
Of happy laughing children far awayF
Then Michael Oaktree took his wife's thin handR
Between his big rough hands His eyes grew darkV3
And as he turned to her and died he spokeW3
Two words of perfect faith and love Come soonB
O then in all the world there was no soundR
Except the slumbrous pulsing of a clockP3
The whisper of the leaves and far awayF
The infinite compassion of the seaC
But as I softly passed out of the porchN3
And walked across the garden all the scentsE3
Of mingling blossoms ached like inmost joyR2
Distinct no more but like one heavenly choirW2
Pealing one mystic music still and strangeX3
As voices of the holy SeraphimU3
One voice of adoration mute as loveV2
Stronger than death and pure with wedded tonesK3
Of honeysuckle jasmine gilly flowersL3
Jonquils and aromatic musky leavesM3
Lilac and lilies to the garden gateR
O then indeed I knew how closely knitR
To stars and flowers we are how many meansY3
Of grace there are for those that never loseZ3
Their sense of membership in this divineA4
Body of God for those that all their daysU2
Have walked in quiet communion with the LifeB4
That keeps the common secret of the sunD
The wind the silence and the heart of manJ2
There is one God one Love one everlastingC4
Mystery of Incarnation one creativeD4
Passion behind the many coloured veilM
We have obscured God's face with partial truthsE4
The cause of all our sorrow and sin our warsH
Of force and thought in this unheavened worldR
Yet by the battle of our partial truthsE4
The past against the present and the swiftR
Moment of passing joy against the deepR3
Eternal love ever the weaker truthF4
Falls to the stronger till once more we nearC3
The enfolding splendour of the whole Our GodR
Has been too long a partial God We arP

Alfred Noyes


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