Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Here you will find the Poem The Song of the Oak of poet Gilbert Keith Chesterton

The Song of the Oak

The Druids waved their golden knives 
 And danced around the Oak 
 When they had sacrificed a man; 
 But though the learned search and scan 
 No single modern person can 
 Entirely see the joke. 
 But though they cut the throats of men 
 They cut not down the tree, 
 And from the blood the saplings spring 
 Of oak-woods yet to be. 
 But Ivywood, Lord Ivywood, 
 He rots the tree as ivy would, 
 He clings and crawls as ivy would 
 About the sacred tree. 

 King Charles he fled from Worcester fight 
 And hid him in the Oak; 
 In convent schools no man of tact 
 Would trace and praise his every act, 
 Or argue that he was in fact 
 A strict and sainted bloke. 
 But not by him the sacred woods 
 Have lost their fancies free, 
 And though he was extremely big 
 He did not break the tree. 
 But Ivywood, Lord Ivywood, 
 He breaks the tree as ivy would, 
 And eats the woods as ivy would 
 Between us and the sea. 

 Great Collingwood walked down the glade 
 And flung the acorns free, 
 That oaks might still be in the grove 
 As oaken as the beams above, 
 When the great Lover sailors love 
 Was kissed by Death at sea. 
 But though for him the oak-trees fell 
 To build the oaken ships, 
 The woodman worshipped what he smote 
 And honoured even the chips. 
 But Ivywood, Lord Ivywood, 
 He hates the tree as ivy would, 
 As the dragon of the ivy would 
 That has us in his grips.