new zealand electronic poetry centre

Ursula Bethell

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‘At least we shall have roses,’ laughed my companion,
Looking on the bundles arrived from the nursery;
All with their labels tied up so neatly,
All with their shaven crests and roots so well developed –
‘We shall always have roses here.’

‘At least we shall have roses’ this morning I repeated,
Looking on the summer’s lustrous assemblage,
Beholding the long shoots, as once before in spring-time,
Zestfully preparing for their latter blooming –
‘We shall always have roses, here.’

Others may sail away to the sea-coasts of Bohemia,
Cathay, and Coromandel, Malay, and Patagonia,
Hong Kong, and Halifax, Bombay, and Pernambuco,
Frisco and Singapore, and all the world’s fine harbours –
Wistfully we may watch them loosed from our limitations, –
But for us, at least, roses, here.


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


Last updated 9 April, 2005