A Prayer In Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Robert Frost

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay

Robert Frost

Frog on the Allotment

It was a good sized frog.
As ever, that glistening motley

wash-leather skin – lemon, green,
yellow, black spots;

it went well with the garden leavings
piled up

with the rolled back old carpets,
April leaves, grass, roots in a heap,

it went under, blended in;

though water,
its skin matched the land colours.

At first I saw it, after a spade thrust,
spring up

then stop, elongate,
as if to show me itself,

unchopped, whole, no missing limb;

as if I’d have sense of it,
come from the beck,

and of where it fitted in.

Nicholas Bradley, 2004

The Dark Allotments, Early April

When I got there

I saw eight magpies on one plot,
one perched on a cane or a pole,

they let me get quite near;
it was raining, no-one else

around. I guess the wrens
and long ago hoards of small birds

are edged out. I half hate
these big survivors, half love

their beauty when I see them,
close, by the four foot pink

and off-pink bush; what is it?

I got digging, the odd whinny
of a horse was all this inner city

garden had on its grey six-thirty
soundtrack, as slowly the church

and houses on the hill
sank below street lights;

I had to get out.

Nicholas Bradley, 2004