Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

Ducklington - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

'To Ducklington,' the signpost read;
And 'That's the way for me,' I said,
For that (I thought) must surely be
A pleasant kind of place to see,
Where downy and delightful things
With yellow feet and cherub wings
And busy bills and bobbing heads
Will dip and dive in oiser-beds,
Or dabble by the brooklet edge
And hunt for tadpoles in the sedge,
Or, heedless of the careful clucks
Of such poor hens as mother ducks,
True infant Drakes, put out to sea
On the broad pond's immensity.

Alas the dream! The year was old;
The rickyards brimmed with Autumn's gold;
Low bowed the weighted fruit-trees down,
The green was parched and bare and brown,
And all the ducks that quacked beside
The pond that drought had all but dried
Were old and sober, staid and sage,
Forgetful in their riper age
That they, in some sweet April gone,
Were ducklings once at Ducklington.

But time will come and time will go,
And this year's follow last year's snow,
And Spring come back to Windrush side
With swallow-flight and mating tide,
With fleeting sun and flying shower,
The colt's-foot and the cuckoo flower,
With bloom in spate on orchard trees
And faint frail scent of primroses,
And running brooks and ponds abrim
Where downy broods shall dive and swim
As broods like them, since Time began
And grass grew green and water ran,
From year to year have surely done
At Duckling time in Ducklington.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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