The Call Of The Forest - Shante Saryharakshita

 

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!’