new zealand electronic poetry centre

Ursula Bethell

online works

Spring 1940
(Christchurch, August)

This morning I saw suddenly a weeping willow green,
Beside the mechanic streets and grey, stone-heavy bridges
In solitude of grace beside the sullen river
It stood, all green again.

Marvel! Apparition! – Before the all-wintry years
How often we had watched, in Spring, the purple-misted
Veils to a green haze dissolve about the willows,
Condense to a green rain.

Out to the pastures, then, we went to seek our Spring.
Now, in the city pent, Spring sudden overtakes me –
As in time past my joy, hear my complaint now,
Spirit of Beauty, hear.

What shall be done with Spring? Until this grief
Meet vaster renaissance, now for immortal symbol
Here to sustain me, I may take your willow,
Your bright tree of tears.

Faith for the putting off of the vesture, and the fall,
Hope for the long nakedness, and last is charity –
The clothing of expectant boughs with amplitude
Of living green again.

Match Spring with vision, Spirit of Beauty, bring
With your persuasive love to the inward eye awakening,
Lest looking on this life to count what time has taken
I cannot bear the pain.

From Collected Poems (Caxton, 1960)


Last updated 10 April, 2005