Why do thy leaves, O Beech, cling on?
When leaves of other trees have gone –
Gone to the dust, gone to their tomb,
‘Mid winter wrath, and autumn gloom.
Thy dead leaves wave like golden shields
O’er straw-roofed cots and snow-clad fields;
Defying rain and hail and frost –
Buffeted, torn, and tempest-tost.
Methinks that Love – the Love of mother,
Love of father, sister, brother –
Of each for all, and all for each,
Lives in thy bosom, gentle Beech!
Love which the God of Love has given,
That Love which binds the earth and heaven,
Abideth in no small degree
Among thy branches, leaves, and thee.
Even in death thy leaves remain
To shield thee from the hurricane –
Thou canst not bear to let them go –
Even in death – thou lovest so.
‘The Bard of Foremass’
Foremass Lower, Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone.