Cherry Wood

                                       Cherry Wood

“I hear the beast has woken,
broken his rusted chain,
Cherry Wood retaken,
children cannot go there again,”
announced the old innkeeper,
his voice dry, forsaken,
his eyes strained with pain.

“The windows must be shuttered,
all the doors be bolted,”
the village men muttered,
who sat and supped their ale.
A young traveller in a corner,
listened closely to their tale,
his hair gold, his cloak berry brown.
“I will slay the beast,” he said.
“I will go and hunt him down.”
He drank his ale, finished his pie,
and walked out the door.
That was the last they saw of him,
alive they saw him no more.

He trapped the beast in the wood,
and slew it with his sword,
but before it died it trampled him,
with its horn his chest it gored.
They buried him in the churchyard.
Children put bluebells on his grave.
The priest said: “He knew not one of us,
yet it was us he died to save.”
Now the children play in Cherry Wood,
lovers meet among the trees.
The cry of the gold haired stranger
is whistled by the breeze.

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