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Old Man

Rating: 3.0
Old Man, or Lads-Love, - in the name there's nothing
To one that knows not Lads-Love, or Old Man,
The hoar green feathery herb, almost a tree,
Growing with rosemary and lavender.
Even to one that knows it well, the names
Half decorate, half perplex, the thing it is:
At least, what that is clings not to the names
In spite of time. And yet I like the names.

The herb itself I like not, but for certain
I love it, as someday the child will love it
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COMMENTS
Paul Timbrell 28 January 2006
This lovely poem becomes particularly memorable when you know the scent of the aromatic plant. I cannot smell the plant without remembering the poem. In the 1960s, when I was in college in Cheltenham (UK) , our usual English lecturer was ill and a retired teacher took his place. The elderly gentleman chose to study the poem with us and, as we concluded, reached into his pocket and produced a sprig of Old Man, plucked from his own garden that morning. The twig was passed around for us to experience its scent and, as we sniffed it, the lecturer explained that, when he was a young man, he and Edward Thomas had been close friends. The artemisia plant in his garden, the fronds of which we were savouring, had been propagated from the very bush about which Thomas writes in his poem.
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