This tree is weathered nearly flat,
Twisted in tangled brambles;
Gripping the cliff-face much as a cat
In its stiff-tailed, sycamore scramble.
It clings above the shaken shale,
Searching each hidden fissure;
Forcing the limestone’s ancient mail
With its sap-bold, root-old pressure.
And every leaf upon it shows,
Despite its harsh-wracked grappling,
As perfect a form as that which grows
On a suppler inland sapling.
On salt and storms and rock it has thrived;
It took the shape it had to make;
In itself straight and true it has lived:
It buckles and bends but it does not break.