First World War Poetry Digital Archive

The New Year

THE NEW YEAR by EDWARD THOMAS

He was the one man I met up in the wood 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 rage 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-cocolorum, 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 trees' roar--- 'Happy New Year, and may it come fastish, too,' While I strode by and he turned to raking leaves.

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