Cover of the first edition of The Wind in the Willows (London : Methuen, 1908)
To a Woman Reading The Wind in the Willows
Peeping through the door an inch ajar,
I see you curled-up with your favourite book.
I wonder where precisely now you are,
What green, familiar, friendly path you took—
Ignore them, the neurotic and the driven,
Who’d say your book’s a trivial escape.
What harm if an imagined land is given
A simpler ethos and a gentler shape?
What fitter story could a grown-up find
Than one which makes uncomplicated sense
Of things like being brave and being kind,
Of virtues so important and immense?
And just as stories help the young rehearse
Their courage at the level they can bear,
They do the same for us—except we’ve worse
Than boogies in the shadow of the stair.
Our Wildwood is truly dark and deep,
And no adult who knows it will deride
The fact you find it comforting to keep
Ratty and Mole and Badger at your side.
© Peter Kocan (HT Andew Lansdown)