Standing on your plinth
you appear to be greeting us
at the edge of the thick Berkshire woods
well behind the sculptor’s studio.
But it is the gravity
that you summon from
the very lightness of the air
that forces us to straighten
our backs, to consider
all that you shouldered
with troubled sadness, the fraught
reverence of your clasped hands.

Meeting you
in this natural church amid the birches
and their windy shadows
brings us in accord with you
as we just begin
to feel your depths, the sorrows
combined with the compassion
to free the enslaved,
the dogged perseverance
to see the country through the war.
What heavy diligence
you made lighter by your anecdote, your wit

that belies your steady
disarming gaze.
Anyone looking up
at you who has anything
to be ashamed of will flinch
meeting your unblinking scrutiny.
Anyone who believes in goodness
and nurtures aspiration will be
lifted by your visage, alit
by the sunlight glinting through
the pines towering over
your brooding quietude.