new zealand electronic poetry centre

Ursula Bethell

online works


Illustrious words. Magnificent expectations.
Heat, dust, crowds, people getting in front of you.
How much nearer the real our autumn pastime
Under the trees – acacia, mimosa,
(Not ‘wattle’ then) and the orchard
And bluegums sheltering us from the outside world.
But willows for horses of course.
That thick bough is a draught horse,
What a fellow to manage – he plunges and rears.
First Prize at a glance. Halter and ticket him,
And tie at his stall in the hedge.
That short bough is cobby,
Good for a boy to ride, mount him and off round the ring.
How well I rise to the trot! First Prize.
That little one now, with leaves left on
At the end, for a child’s pony, long tail.
She can amble round as she likes. First Prize.
Now a graceful slender bough for my lady’s hack,
Into the side-saddle and off at a gentle canter,
Now faster, now slower, now walk – oh the easy mouth!
(Double-Stout our pony was always so abrupt).
First Prize. Now we go into tea.
Never mind about Second Prizes today.

Such our imaginations
Such were our joys.
Parents, pity children –
Spare them those toys.

From Collected Poems (Caxton, 1950)


Last updated 22 May, 2005