Saturday, June 16, 2012


What More Could Heart Desire?

V. Sackville-West, From a Diary, January 1918, in Orchard and Vineyard (London: John Lane, 1921), pp. 47-48:
Joy have I had of life this vigorous day
Since sunrise when I took the wealden way,
And my fair country as I rapid strode
Lay round the turn of the familiar road
In mists diaphanous as seas in foam.

And all the orchards cried me welcome home.

I drove the spade that turned the heavy loam,
Bending the winter to the needs of spring,
                             The soft air winnowing
The thistledown that blew along the hedge.
A little moorhen rippled in the sedge;
A distant sheep-dog barked; the day was still,
For summer's ghost in winter lay upon the hill.
I worked in peace; an aeroplane above
Crooned through the heaven coloured like a dove.

                      Within the house I lit a fire
And coaxed the friendly kettle on to boil.
My boots were heavy with the wealden soil,
My hunger eager from the glow of toil.
Fresh bread had I; brown eggs; a little meat;
Clear water, and an apple sweet.
Freedom I drank for my delirious wine,
And Shelley gave me company divine.
                    What more could heart desire?
And when the orange of the sunset burned,
I laid aside my tools and townward turned,
Seeing across the uplands of the Weald
The ploughteams straining on the half-brown field.
I sang aloud; my limbs were rich with health,
As brooding winter rich with summer's wealth.

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