A Red Cardinal

A red cardinal
Flew into the house today
And lost himself in
The orange of the sofa.
Only the black line
Of his beak and the brilliant
Eyes gave him away.

Seychelles, 31 October 1968

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

Arrival from Bombay

Schooner off silhouette

And in and out among the flecks of foam
White sea-birds rose and fell upon the wind,
No different from the moving curves of spray
Until into the sky they rose and stayed
And joined the flocks which flew beside the ship,
All drawn along and upward in our wake.
Upon the starboard bow the distance broke
And there between the ocean and the sky
The land appeared, its highest peak concealed
By cloudy streamers, ribbons of the wind,
Its earthbase anchored in the purple depths
Among the corals and the waving weeds.

Our arrival in Seychelles by sea from Bombay,
After a journey of five days, July 1968