Summer Past

To Oscar Wilde



There was the summer. There 
     Warm hours of leaf-lipped song, 
     And dripping amber sweat. 
     O sweet to see 
The great trees condescend to cast a pearl 
Down to the myrtles; and the proud leaves curl 
     In ecstasy 

Fruit of a quest, despair. 
Smart of a sullen wrong. 
Where may they hide them yet? 
     One hour, yet one, 
To find the mossgod lurking in his nest, 
To see the naiads' floating hair, caressed 
     By fragrant sun- 

Beams. Softly lulled the eves 
The song-tired birds to sleep, 
That other things might tell 
     Their secrecies. 
The beetle humming neath the fallen leaves 
Deep in what hollow do the stern gods keep 
Their bitter silence? By what listening well 
     Where holy trees, 

Song-set, unfurl eternally the sheen 
     Of restless green?

More by John Gray

Poem

To Arthur Edmonds

Geranium, houseleek, laid in oblong beds
On the trim grass. The daisies' leprous stain
Is fresh. Each night the daisies burst again,
Though every day the gardener crops their heads.

A wistful child, in foul unwholesome shreds,
Recalls some legend of a daisy chain
That makes a pretty necklace. She would fain
Make one, and wear it, if she had some threads.

Sun, leprous flowers, foul child. The asphalt burns.
The garrulous sparrows perch on metal Burns.
Sing! Sing! they say, and flutter with their wings.
He does not sing, he only wonders why
He is sitting there. The sparrows sing. And I
Yield to the strait allure of simple things.