new zealand electronic poetry centre

Ursula Bethell

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I have planted lilies, but will they all grow well with me?
Will they like the glitter of this north-looking hillside?
Will they like the rude winds, the stir, the quick changes?
Would they not have shadowy stillnesses, and peace?

Lilium chalcedonicum, Calla aethiopica,
Lilium auratum, candidum, the martagon,
Lilium speciosum, pardalinum, umbellatum,
Amaryllis, convalleria, nerine.

All these lovely lilies, I wish that they would grow with me,
No other flowers have the texture of the lilies,
The heart-piercing fragrance, the newly alighted angel’s
Lineal poise, and purity, and peace –

(We wait their pleasure. Yet if they grow not
Need only take patience a little while longer;
For these are the flowers we look to find blooming
In the meadows and lanes that lie beyond Jordan –
All kinds of lilies in the lanes that lead gently
Very gently, by degrees, in the shade of green trees,
To the foothills and fields of Paradise.)



From a Garden in the Antipodes (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1929)

Last updated 4 April, 2005