new zealand electronic poetry centre

Ursula Bethell

online works



When Michael plays on a bibibid’ patch,
And a crestfallen figure of fun
Approaches our portals furtively,
All hands muster and run
As if to a grass-fire, incontinently,
Down tools, hurry and run –
Seize him before his endeavours
To gloss the disaster have begun.
Though he bite and claw, half in fury
And half in gratified fun,
We most gently and delicately
The embedded burrs one by one
Disengage from his opulent vesture
Till the morning hours have run.

All my work antedated!
All our duties undone!
Because great Michael rolled heedlessly
On a bidibidi patch in the sun!

Ah, Michael, year by year the same catastrophe;
Yearly these old incorrigible capers;
Yearly must we undo the work of atavistic vagrancy;
Because Dame Nature has withheld from you, old blunderer
(But not from us, the bludgeoned and belaboured!),
The deep incisive doctrines of experience.

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


Last updated 9 April, 2005