The New Year by Edward Thomas

The New Year

He was the one man I met up in the woods

That stormy New Year’s morning; and at first sight,

Fifty yards off, I could not tell how much

Of the strange tripod was a man.  His body,

Bowed horizontal, was supported equally

By legs at one end, by a rake at the other:

Thus he rested, far less like a man than

His wheel-barrow in profile was like a pig.

But when I saw it was an old man bent,

At the same moment came into my mind

The games at which boys bend thus, High-Cockalorum,

Or Fly-the-garter, and Leap-frog.  At the sound

Of footsteps he began to straighten himself;

His head rolled under his cape like a tortoise’s;

He took an unlit pipe out of his mouth

Politely ere I wished him “A Happy New Year,”

And with his head cast upward sideways

Muttered –

So far as I could hear through the tree’s roar –

“Happy New Year, and may it come fastish, too,”

While I strode by and he turned to raking leaves.

Churlish of me; who am I to have a problem with line 8?   I do so wish to put  commas  , between  His wheel-barrow , in profile,  was like a pig    but I daren’t!!   Or maybe the word ‘he’  between profile and was…….    I have to continue to struggle with it…………I know it follows the ‘he’ in previous line.   I just hope it is a missing misprint.  Oh the simple trials of reading and editing!

Anyway, if anyone is really reading this:   Happy New Year!



also tagged as seasons


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