"Outdoor Sketches" by Grace Melvin

This poem was written by Grace Melvin, on June 8, 1939. It is from one of a folio of original issues of The Savary Pudding, a broadside created by Vancouver School of Art summer students on Savary Island.

The Woods at Night

Gray and damp are the woods
at night -
So cold
So heavy
To bear alone.
Trees grown so tall
Their rustling
Ousts the sky
And the birds in their branches
Seem far away -
They call
From another world -
Wheet - Wheet - Wheet -
hees - ssss -
Twit - twit
hoot -
Gray and damp are the woods
at night
And the dead leaves
The salt air drags heavily
in the nostrils
Sweet and pungent
With dew and rain
There is a tremble
Of falling darkness -
Silencing laughter
And the raucous notes of day.
Soft is the light
In the gray woods at night
Soft are the sounds
And the whispers
of the wild things.
Soft is the moss
And the leaves
Soft with reverence
For dead things passing.
Day must die.
One pulse breathes the rhythm
Of the gray woods
At night-fall
One pulse -
And one beat -
Tread softly now -
lest you waken the wild things
In the gray damp woods at night.