new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

The Desolate Star And Other Poems

The English Trees

Never the scent of hawthorns, fragrant after rain, 
Shall make them dream again
Such dreams as England’s lovers understand
Of quiet homesteads in an English land,
The little high-walled garden that encloses
Lawns white with dew, a crimson snare of roses,
The deep-grassed fields, where cows, with serious eyes,
Watch the blue dance of Devon butterflies.

Never the hawthorn trees shall guard them where they sleep
(Quiet their rest and deep)
Nor, when the little winds light-footed pass,
Shall silver petals drift along the grass.
But Flemish poplars, in their foreign tongue, 
Through solemn dusks shall whisper, “They died young” —
With England’s careless courage, faithful to
The spired Camelots they never knew.

Never again the breath of hawthorns through the morn,
Song of a thrush forlorn,
Shall bring such dreams of Rosalind as stray,
Clear-eyed, brown-throated, half the world away.
Dreams shall not trouble their eyes; but on our shore
The English trees are stranger trees no more.
The golden youth that signed our fathers’ page
Won all green Arden for our heritage.


Last updated 17 February, 2003