(1873 - 1958 / Kent / England)

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.

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Comments (17)

I had to learn this poem some 50 years ago at school and it is still a favourite go to when I am feeling a down
like the poem
The best English teacher a young boy could have, used to read this poem to my class, along with many others. That was 56 years ago. The teacher was Mr Polehill and the school was Bramcote Preparatory School. Because he had the ability to bring life to both poems and stories I was always captivated with his lessons.This poem was one of my favourites and I really can feel the warmth of the sun when I read it.
I learned this poem 70 years ago it is so poignant and has lingered in my mind all these many years.My favourite line Something much better than words between me and Nicholas NYE 2/2/2019
i am learning this poem we have this poem in class 7 this is a nice poem with beautiful meaning
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