Beechwoods At Knole – Victoria Sackville West

How do I love you, beech-trees, in the autumn, 

Your stone-grey columns a cathedral nave 

Processional above the earth’s brown glory! 
I was a child, and I loved the knurly tangle 

Of roots that coiled above a scarp like serpents, 

Where I might hide my treasure with the squirrels. 
I was a child, and splashed my way in laughter 

Through drifts of leaves, where underfoot the beech-nuts 

Split with crisp crackle to my great rejoicing. 
Red are the beechen slopes below Shock Tavern, 

Red is the bracken on the sandy Furze-field, 

Red are the stags and hinds by Bo-Pit Meadows, 
The rutting stags that nightly through the beechwoods 

Bell out their challenge, carrying their antlers 

Proudly beneath the antlered autumn branches. 
I was a child, and heard the red deer’s challenge 

Prowling and belling underneath my window, 

Never a cry so haughty or so mournful.

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