Upton Wood

Original Text: 
Wilson MacDonald, A Flagon of Beauty (Toronto: Pine Tree, 1931): 96-98.
1They hanged three men
3Three months on air
4    Their feet have stood.
5The raven came,
6    With raucous cries,
7And picked well clean
8    The six dead eyes.
9Their eyes, that once
10    Revealed their souls,
11Looked now at night
12    Like six black bowls.
13And all by dark
14    Who happened near
15From these cups drank
16    The wine of fear.
17The ravens, in picking
18    The Three necks clean,
19Had eaten the marks
20    Where the ropes had been.
21The first man killed
22    Died raving mad.
23The second man prayed,
24    And the third was a lad.
25They left the lad
26    In this upright sleep
27For being with men
28    Who stole men's sheep.
29His hair now hung
30    Six inches long;
31And even his bones
32    Looked young and strong.
33Few people walked
34    In Upton Wood
35Where three dead men
36    On blue air stood.
37But a maid came there
38    Who felt no fright
39When skeletons rattled
40    On a cold, wild night.
41She came and watched,
42    By a yellow moon,
43Three dead men dance
44    Without cape or shoon.
45And she came by dark,
46    When she could not see,
47And heard them dance,
48    On their tall death-tree.
49And one cold night,
50    That was still and black,
51The maiden walked in
52    And never walked back.
53When dawn flamed red
54    They found her there
55With a skeleton's foot
56    Caught in her hair.
57The bony foot
58    Held as a vise;
59And the dead maid's eyes
60    Were like blue ice.
61Now four ghosts dance
62    In Upton Wood;
63And two dance together
64    As young ghosts should.
65And one is the daughter,
66    Sweet and fair,
67Of the sheriff who left
68    Three dead men there.


2] Upton Wood: a place-name found in Kent and Dorset, England, and elsewhere. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: