new zealand electronic poetry centre

Ursula Bethell

online works



Night and day my garden now is menaced
By a host of abominable enemies.
Some visible, some invisible, or darkly lurking,
Some threatened by prophetic experts, and anticipated;
Mildew, rust, red mite, codlin moth,
Woodlice, thrip, scale, cherry slug,
Pullulating aphis, caterpillars, beetles,
All manner of devils, animal and vegetable.
I assault, I give battle relentlessly till my strength is exhausted.
But is it a forlorn hope? What are my spray and a few chemicals?

A truce! Let me sit down upon this bench,
And lift my eyes beyond the confines of this strife!
How peaceful sleeps the great Pacific to the eastward;
Mile upon mile unbroken rests the open plain;
The purple mountains in mysterious repose;
The dim sky buttressed with a northern arch of cloud;
Faint, in the amethystine radiance of the west,
Eternal snows. . . .


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


Last updated 9 April, 2005