Cicely Fox Smith

(1882-1954 / England)

A Contrast

I wandered in a garden-square,
By pathways walled with straight-clipt yew,
And over-arched by jasmine fair,
Wet with new-fallen dew.

And all about the order'd beds
Wandered the South wind's listless breath,
Where roses droop'd their weary heads
And lilies white as death.

The heavy air was all-too sweet
With perfume of unnumbered flowers,
And dark wet mould beneath my feet
Fresh-wet with recent showers.

O'er the wide plain, with ne'er a hill,
I heard a lonely swallow call,
And I grew wear of the still
Sad glamour of it all.

I wandered on the lone moorside
When Summer's fern was tinged with gold,
And all around me, waste and wide,
Spread sweeps of purple wold.

A voiceful wind, instinct with life,
Swept its wild harp's exultant strings,
And all the scented air was rife
With whir of cleaving wings.

Above, fresh blue without a cloud,
Below, blue plain and fertile vale,
Around, the happy moorland, loud
With stir of strong-wing'd gale.

O perfect day without alloy!
O song of breeze and wild bird's wing!
It was an ecstasy of joy
To be a living thing.

Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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