F. S. Flint




Otherworlds - Cadences by F. S. Flint (London: The Poetry Bookshop, 1920)


Elm trees
and the leaf the boy in me hated
long ago --
rough and sandy.
and their leaves,
tender, smooth to the fingers,
and a secret in their smell
I have forgotten.
and forest glades,
heart aching with wonder, fear:
their bitter mast.
and the scented beetle
we put in our handkerchiefs;
and the roots of one
that spread into a river:
nakedness, water and joy.
white and odorous with blossom,
framing the quiet fields,
and swaying flowers and grasses,
and the hum of bees.
Oh, these are the things that are with me now,
in the town;
and I am grateful
for this minute of my manhood.


Frail beauty,
green, gold and incandescent whiteness,
narcissi, daffodils,
you have brought me Spring and longing,
in your irradiance.
Therefore, I sit here
among the people,
and my heart arches
with all the hawthorn blossom,
the bees humming,
the light wind upon the poplars,
and your warmth and your love
and your eyes . . .
they smile and know me.


Evening and quiet:
a bird trills in the poplar trees
behind the house with the dark green door
across the road.
Into the sky,
the red earthenware and the galvanised iron chimneys
thrust their cowls.
The hoot of the steamers on the Thames is plain.
No wind;
the trees merge, green with green;
a car whirs by;
footsteps and voices take their pitch
in the key of dusk,
far-off and near, subdued.
Solid and square to the world
the houses stand,
their windows blocked with venetian blinds.
Nothing will move them.


On black bare trees a stale cream moon
hangs dead, and sours the unborn buds.
Two gaunt old hacks, knees bent, heads low,
tug, tired and spent, an old horse tram.
Damp smoke, rank mist fill the dark square;
and round the bend six bullocks come.
A hobbling, dirt-grimed drover guides
their clattering feet to death and shame.

First published 1920.

Contributed by Robert Clark.