new zealand electronic poetry centre

Ursula Bethell

online works



‘Now is the time for planting shrubs.’
Shall I plant shrubs? ‘Shrubs’ is an ugly word!
When one says shrubs, I think of suburbs,
Damp villas, desert isles, detective stories.

(’Bank’ is an ugly word – and yet one said
‘I know a bank where the wild thyme grows’)

Come, let me read this catalogue of shrubs,
And choose out those with lovely-sounding names.
          Adenandra uniflora, Aloysia Citriodora,
          Iochroma Tubulosa, Podalyria Grandiflora,
          Melaleuca, Santolina, Lasiandra,
          Cantua, Cassia, Felecia, Luculia,
          Daphne – – –
          Shrubs. I am planting shrubs.


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

Last updated 4 April, 2005