Under the Limes

My friends, the limes are blooming now
And in their vaults the holy bees
Intone their sacred offices.

Of all high Summer’s sacraments,
This moves me most and with sweet scents
Body and mind intoxicates.

For this brief moment in the year,
Come share the fragrance of the limes
And, like the bees, forget all else.

The two giant limes in the school playground are in full flower. 5.7.92


This morning I could suddenly smell
The phlox in my grandfather’s garden.
You were lying there beside me, still
Hardly awake and the whole room was
Filled with flowers from before you were born.
We ran down the garden path, looking
For windfalls, my sister and I, and
The pink and white phlox grew over us,
Swarming with brown bees dusty with pollen.
You said “what are you thinking about?”
As I stared at the ceiling. “I can
Smell the phlox in my grandfather’s garden.”
I was thinking of my own deep joy
And the depth of my sister’s sadness.

16 February 1969


Potato fields
Are empty;
Haulms turn brown
In the sun.
All along
Country lanes
Sickles cut
Deep into
June grasses.
Red campions
And nettles
Fall with vetch
And yarrow.
The shorn lanes
Are wider
And sadder.
Men with rods
Will pass here
To measure
The clearance,
Fining each
For any


The geraniums are in

The geraniums are in
And the logs are piled high,
The chestnuts are gathered
And across the grey sky
The wild ducks are flying
Away, away,
We’ll come back in Springtime,
Some day, some day!


My Roadside Stall

I’ve gathered all the windfalls
And made a roadside stall,
I’ve put them in a little box
Upon the garden wall.

I hope somebody buys them,
They’re very good, you see,
They’re good for apple crumble
Or bramble jam for tea.

I’ve washed and dried the apples
And polished every one,
If you pass by you’ll see them
All shining in the sun.

I think somebody’s stopping
Beside my roadside stall,
I hope they like my apples
And maybe buy them all.

For Lucy

Seagull and Albertine

Let me seduce you with the flowers of thyme,
The scent of woodbine and of rosemary.
Above our heads the climbing roses meet
And, on the summer air, their lures combine.

If, by excess, our hungry senses sin,
Arouse sweet passion and excite the mind
So, let us sin by smell and, with each waft,
The very essence of the gods breathe in.

2001 – The roses were wonderful, especially Seagull and Albertine.

Le Jardinier

Le JardinierJe suis le jardinier
Roi de mes quelques ares,
L’accoucheur au seuil de la vie
Et nourrice aux petits aux faibles.
Je suis le portier fidèle
Au portail des saisons,
Le semeur aux bras longs
Le tuteur qui tient ferme et bon.
Je suis le porteur d’eau
Soulageant les assoiffés,
Mais aussi le bourreau,
L’envahisseur des microcosmes.
Je suis le bûcheron
Elarguant les branches stériles,
L’incendiaire des feuilles mortes,
Le fossoyeur des trépassés.
Je serai moi-même à la fin,
Le grain qui meurt et qui vit,
L’humus qui renouvelle la terre.
Mais, jusqu’à la tombée du fruit,
Je suis l’homme comblé
Humant l’odeur de ses roses,
Le Bon Dieu qui se promène
A la fraîcheur du soir.