Walking by the Thames one day, Mary remarked that there were plenty of nettles but not so many dock leaves, which we both remembered from our childhood as growing plentifully together.
CHORUSThe dock and the nettleThey grow in companyThe one to heal the other's hurtAnd so all well may be
In hedge and ditch and waste-groundThe wild flowers do grow tallAnd the dock and the nettleAre not the least of allFor some may be more fragrantAnd others thought more fairBut none more fast in fellowshipThan this familiar pair
For we learn when we are childrenWhen we feel the nettle's stingTo seek the dock leaf close at handFor the comfort it may bringAnd so we see that natureThough cruel, is also kindAnd that pain and consolationAre sometimes thus entwined
But now as I grow olderIt troubles me in mindMy path fills up with nettlesWhile the dock is hard to findThe world is out of kilterAs madmen make the rulesAnd a vicious crew of piratesCommands a ship of fools
Those who would be rulersAnd makers of the lawShould turn their hands to healingAnd not to cruel warAnd those who would be wiseShould learn a better thingTo be a balm to those for whomLife holds a bitter sting