Cicely Fox Smith

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

Lavender Pond - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Never a swallow wets his wing
In Lavender Pond from Spring to Spring;
Never a lily, pure and chill,
Holds her cup for the dews to fill;
Never a willow, gnarled and hoar,
Bends his bough to a reedy shore;
Never a fragrant flower spike blows there,
Never a lordly King-staff grows there,
Slender and straight where sedges shiver
And glistening Mayflies glance and quiver,
In Lavender Pond by London River.

But the Baltic barques the come and go
With their old pump-windmills turning slow,
And the tall Cape Horners rest and ride
Like stately swans on the murky tide,
And the ocean tramps all red and rusted,
Worn and weathered and salt-encrusted,
Gather and cluster near and far,
Derrick and funnel, mast and spar,
From many a port of old renown,
And lonely wharf where the booms float down,
To Lavender Pond by London Town.

And keen and strong is the wind that comes
To the dingy streets of the Deptford slums,
Strong and keen with the scent it steals
Off piled-up acres of Kalmar deals,
Spruce and cedar and baulks of pine;
Red with resin and drenched with brine,
Sawn from the boles that once did stand
Rank on rank in a virgin land,
Where the cougar prowls through the silent glades
In the forest depths of the far Cascades . . .
And the gulls go flying, the gulls go crying,
And the wind's sob and the water's sighing
Croon to the ships an old sea ditty
In Lavender Pond by London city.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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