new zealand electronic poetry centre

Ursula Bethell

online works

November 1936
(47 Webb St)

Today I trimmed my lonely dwelling place with flowers;
   Memories ask garlands;
   I see you, darling,
Dispose, deft-handed, your bright bunches in that happy home of ours.

Crisp iris, lily-of-the-valley, and the tasselled lime, –
   For spring had spoken Summer
   When Death, new-comer,
Took you at night-fall, dearest. even as at this time.

So I repeat the rites, with tear-dulled eyes,
   Of foretime pleasure;
   Heart with its treasure
Not here; seeking the lost dear in her dim paradise.

Now that our rain-bird, little grey bird, pipes again,
   Hid in the leafage,
   And for my grieving
Links, oh I could think, a note of hope, of hope, into his plaintive chain,

Because their tender beauty is in tune with pain,
   Because their fragrance,
   As the seasons hasten
By and back, blends our bright summers with the summers that remain,

Because the years to months diminish, days to hours,
   And love is stronger
   Than death’s anger
I have adorned today, alone, my brief abiding place with flowers.

From Collected Poems (Caxton, 1960)


Last updated 10 April, 2005