new zealand electronic poetry centre

Ursula Bethell

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While others slept I rose and looked upon the garden,
Lying so still there in the rare light of the soon-to-be-setting moon.

The soft, sharp shadows marked a familiar pattern,
But not a leaf stirred, not a blade of grass quivered,
The trees seemed petrified, and the hedges cut out of black glass.

So still it lay, it suffered an enchantment.
It was the dimly mirrored image of a grove laid up in heaven,
Or the calm mirage of a long-since-lost oasis,
Or the unflickering dream of a serene midnight
Dreamt by one falling into profound sleep.

It was the spectral vision of a work accomplished, done with.
Veiled in the silvery mists of very long past years;
Myself the wraith, from all vicissitudes abstracted,
Of one who had, perhaps, once known expectance,
Had sown in tears and learnt the grave joys of harvest,
Had long ago, perhaps, an enclosed garden tended,
Had for a short while, perhaps, been happy there.


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


Last updated 10 April, 2005