An inversion of Rudyard Kipling’s poem, The Way Through the Woods.

Listen to a recording of the poem.

10 January, 2018

Mine Original
THEY felled the wood to build the road THEY shut the road through the woods
Many years ago. Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have done it again, Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know And now you would never know
There was once a wood where there’s now a path There was once a path through the woods
Before they chopped down the trees: Before they planted the trees:
It is underneath the concrete and scree, It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the road-builders’ decrees. And the thin anemones.
Only the locals see Only the keeper sees
That, where the traffic goes That, where the ring-dove broods
And the lorries idle at ease, And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a wood instead of the road. There was once a road through the woods.
Yet, if you drive on the road Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late Of a summer evening late,
When the traffic’s air gathers in toxic-ringed pools When the night-air cools on the trout-ring’d pools
Where the otter once whistled his mate Where the otter whistles his mate
(They fear the men on the road (They fear not men in the woods
and now they number so few), Because they see so few),
You will hear the weeze of an old man’s chest You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet
And the cough of a child in the fumes, And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily breaking through Steadily cantering through
The smoggy multitidues, The misty solitudes,
Where once the locals knew As though they perfectly knew
The old lost trees ripped down by the road … The old lost road through the woods …
Where once stood a wood goes the road. But there is no road through the woods.


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The Road Through the Woods by Steve Huckle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at