Nicholas Nye

Thistle and darnell and dock grew there,
And a bush, in the corner, of may,
On the orchard wall I used to sprawl
In the blazing heat of the day;

Half asleep and half awake,
While the birds went twittering by,
And nobody there my lone to share
But Nicholas Nye.

Nicholas Nye was lean and gray,
Lame of leg and old,
More than a score of donkey's years
He had been since he was foaled;
He munched the thistles, purple and spiked,
Would sometimes stoop and sigh,
And turn his head, as if he'd said,
'Poor Nicholas Nye! '

Alone with his shadow he'd drowse in the meadow,
Lazily swinging his tail,
At break of day he used to bray,-
Not much too hearty and hale;
But a wonderful gumption was under his skin,
And a clean calm light in his eye,
And once in a while; he'd smile:-
Would Nicholas Nye.

Seem to be smiling at me, he would,
From his bush in the corner, of may,-
Bony and ownerless, widowed and worn,
Knobble-kneed, lonely and gray;
And over the grass would seem to pass
'Neath the deep dark blue of the sky,
Something much better than words between me
And Nicholas Nye.

But dusk would come in the apple boughs,
The green of the glow-worm shine,
The birds in nest would crouch to rest,
And home I'd trudge to mine;
And there, in the moonlight, dark with dew,
Asking not wherefore nor why,
Would brood like a ghost, and as still as a post,
Old Nicholas Nye.

by Walter de la Mare

Comments (9)

Very good poems
This poem is a classic case of animal abuse. A donkey requires 1 companionship, ideally another donkey 2. Shelter from the elements 3. a decent diet - preferably barley straw and supplements and a mineral lick. 4. Clean fresh water 5. Attention to his hooves from a farrier to ensure that they do not overgrow. Contrast bony and ownerless Nicholas Nye's treatment with that of the donkey Platero in Juan Ramon's novella Platero y yo (Platero and I)
lovely poem - vile robotic rendition though
my mum had my learn this poem when i was young as i was off school with a broken leg, whenever i read it reminds me of good times miss you mum xxxx
I love this poem.It brings back long summer holidays with nothing to do except get sunburned and thirsty. The line I love most is And nobody there my lone to share
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