new zealand electronic poetry centre

Ursula Bethell

online works

For November 1938

And now the egyptian-blue harbour and the enclosing hills,
and you not here beside me at the commanding resting-place,
not here beside me, gazing, with your little exclamations of joy
at the beauty of the shipped harbour you had loved so well,
not here with confiding hands, bright glances, laughter, little sighs.
So still, to-day, so blue, so silent is the pleasurable sea –
but we set forth that dark night in the September tempest
together, never again together, and pain was in your eyes,
and fear in my heart not to be stilled with the soon-stilling storm,
for I must shortly send back to the familiar harbour
what had been you, never to voyage more, what had been you –
what had meant you, to see, to touch, to cherish, and to laugh at.

(Dearest, these four years I have been consenting to live onwards alone.)

Sitting beside your dust at the destined place of pilgrimage
under the pine trees mournful in the warm wild north wind,
under the tapping cabbage-trees you were fond of, full in flower,
by your dust, and the hill gorse golden over beyond me,
I vowed to your bright spirit, lost to me, not to the gathered dust,
that in some sort love released be presently shed abroad from you,
that your love be not all lost in me, my darling, but something raised again,
(Creator, pitiful Redeemer, love-reviving Spirit, make it so!)

From Collected Poems (Caxton, 1960)


Last updated 10 April, 2005