Sunday, August 02, 2009



V. Sackville-West, from The Garden (Winter):
He dreams an orchard neatly pruned and spurred,
Where Cox' Orange jewels with the red
Of Worcester Permain, and the grass beneath
Blows with narcissus and the motley crocus,
Rich as Crivelli, fresh as Angelo
Poliziano, or our English Chaucer
Or Joachim du Bellay, turn by turn.
He dreams again, extravagant, excessive,
Of planted acres most unorthodox
Where Scarlet Oaks would flush our English fields
With passionate colour as the Autumn came,
Quercus coccinea, that torch of flame
Blown sideways as by some Atlantic squall
Between its native north America
And this our moderate island. Or again
He dreams of forests made of flow'ring trees
Acre on acre, thousands in their pride,
Cherry and almond, crab and peach and plum,
Not like their working cousins grown for use
But in an arrant spendthrift swagger cloak
Squandered across th' astonished countryside.
What woodlands here! No beech, no sycamore,
No rutted chestnut, no, nor wealden oak,
Trunks rising straight from sun-shot, shade-flecked ground,
Elephants' legs, set gray and solid-round,
No green-brown distance of the mossy ride,
But tossing surf of blossom, frothy heads,
Lather of rose, of cream, of ice-green white,
Vapour and spindrift blown upon the air,
Scudding down rides and avenues more fair
Even than usual woodlands in the Spring
Or at the Summer's height;
(That's saying much, God knows; though saying only
A truth to him who through the woodland goes
Rapt, but aware; alone yet never lonely;
And all the changes of their movement knows.)

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