Phlox

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

Baby

Believers in spells
We hardly speak of it,
And yet we know
Within your secret self
The baby grows
And daily lays his claim
To food and space, to air,
To life itself,
And to our life
Which until now we shared
In love and work
And peaceful happiness.

For these quiet years
When we like rivers flowed
Each into each,
Our separate streams to bind,
My thanks and love,
My joy and faithfulness.

And for this change
When we from two shall grow
Into a third,
And found its infant life
On work and faith,
Be you my heart
And daily comforter,
As I’ll your strength
And constant husband be.

30 July 1969

Birthday Flowers

Frangipani by Aidan Smith

Frangipani by Aidan Smith

I have, my Love, no flowers for you today,
Small summer flowers from cool green country lanes,
No lilies of the valley which you love,
Sweet peas and honeysuckle, wild dog rose
And ragged robin tied with buttercups.
These things we love and for a time have left
And know instead the burning tropic sun,
The rains upon the palms and warm salt wind.

Take then these poems, their garden is your love,
Your sweetness gives them life, for you they grow.

Seychelles 4th May 1969

Giant Tortoises

Was this the one that carried on its back
The elements of the Earth and caused to break,
By each seismic step, the bulging crust
And fire to flow along the widening cracks?
Was this the one that sightless Aesop knew,
Which furnished fables to a later sage,
And served as tutor to the Roman troop,
Their corporate armour modelled on its shell?

The sun burns down and drifting sand blows through
The whitened carapace but legends live.

Seychelles 1969