“Dirge in the Woods “- By George Meredith

A wind sways the pines,
And below.
Not a breath of wild air;
Still as the mosses that glow
On the flooring and over the lines
Of the roots here and there.
The pine-tree drops its dead;
They are quiet, as under the sea.
Overhead, overhead
Rushes life in a race,
As the clouds the clouds chase;
And we go,
And we drop like the fruits of the tree,
Even we,
Even so.

The last lines ,which sound so mournful , are a dirge indeed. “Even we, even so” .We drop like the fruits of the tree. We are born as a flower and turn a fruit , ripen and drop off. Rather we are dropped off. Like the pine cones that drop into the soft mud of the forest floor. Imagine the pine needles softly piercing the mud.No noise. They are quiet. Like the under-things in the ocean softly dropping to the floor from a boisterous sea surface .Up in the top branches of the pine there is a noisy breeze ,swaying them with a wild air,while there is stillness in the glowing moss on the pine’s roots and the cones lying about in random.

The pine tree drops its dead. The world drops its dead as quietly.All the while there is hectic activity in the top branches like the world that goes on with its race.Even so.even we.

There is no Victorian stiffness such as one would expect in poetry of the time. To me Meredith’s poem reads like a nature poem.The dirge part is less relevant to me than the exquisite description of the wood with its beautiful imagery.

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