Read THE WOOD-CUTTER of The Wild Knight and Other Poems, free online book, by Gilbert K. Chesterton, on

We came behind him by the wall,
My brethren drew their brands,
And they had strength to strike him down
And I to bind his hands.

Only once, to a lantern gleam,
He turned his face from the wall,
And it was as the accusing angel’s face
On the day when the stars shall fall.

I grasped the axe with shaking hands,
I stared at the grass I trod;
For I feared to see the whole bare heavens
Filled with the face of God.

I struck: the serpentine slow blood
In four arms soaked the moss
Before me, by the living Christ,
The blood ran in a cross.

Therefore I toil in forests here
And pile the wood in stacks,
And take no fee from the shivering folk
Till I have cleansed the axe.

But for a curse God cleared my sight,
And where each tree doth grow
I see a life with awful eyes,
And I must lay it low.