Lean is the dull steel flashed white in the sun
Like a sudden lifting of the white-leaved abele,
Flushed from the raw thongs of the birch-tree
The white wood flies through the mists of morning.

The ringing singing of the axe-blade widens,
The keen cold frost edge flashing with dew,
The smell of the bruised sap darkens the air,
Raw and lithe is the air that shivers.

Sheer from the cruel north of my cleaving arms
Fierce falls the arctic fang of the axe-blade
And the light is shed from the heart of the birch-tree.