This lovely poem - The Way Through the Woods by Rudyard Kipling - is an excellent choice for children. It's lyrical rhythm and clever, exciting rhyme scheme helps it trip off the tongue if you read it aloud - making it a particularly good one for learning and reciting, too. The hint of a ghost, or a memory, in the woods adds to the appeal. I get a little hit of goosebumps when I read this poem - partly from the beauty of it and partly from the message of the last stanza. Scroll down for a pdf which has been designed so that you can print it or put it up on your screen / whiteboard to read with the children.
The Way Through the Woods
by Rudyard Kipling
They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.
Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.