new zealand electronic poetry centre

Ursula Bethell

online works



I was intent on a small box of ugly tubers,
Thinking: How merry these will look in autumn,
All in a row along that bright green trellis,
Chestnut, magenta red, old gold, maroon;
Round, flat, frilled faces of Collarette Dahlias,
Holyrood, Rosette, Patrol, –

But I laid down my trowel when I heard the postman’s whistle,
For I knew that he might bring an ocean-mail,
Went up to the gate-box and there found your letter,
And left my dahlias dormant in their nest.

You had been out walking on a Sunday,
And in the Regent’s Park had much admired fine dahlias,
All with their names, in ranks, magnificent.

I could not go on with my gardening
For dreaming of loved and lost London,
And Regent’s Park on summer Saturdays,
And hearing the shrill calls of young boys playing cricket,
And ceaseless distant scream of captive seals.



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


Last updated 9 April, 2005