Published on Academy of American Poets (


I have been a spendthrift
Dropping from lazy fingers
Quiet coloured hours,
Fluttering away from me
Like oak and beech leaves in October.

I have lived keenly and wastefully,
Like a bush or a sun insect—
Lived sensually and thoughtfully,
Loving the flesh and the beauty of this world—
Green ivy about ruined towers,
The out-pouring of the grey sea,
And the ecstasy
Of a pale clear sky at sunset.

I have been prodigal of love
For cities and for lonely places;
I have tried not to hate mankind;
I have gathered sensations
Like ripe fruits in a rich orchard…
All this is gone;
There are no leaves, no sea,
No shade of a rich orchard,
Only a sterile, dusty waste,
Empty and threatening. 

I long vainly for solitude
And the lapse of silent hours;
I am frantic to throw off
My heavy cloth and leather garments,
To set free my feet and body;
And I am so far from beauty
That a yellow daisy seems to clutch my heart
With eager searching petals,
And I am grateful even to humility
For the taste of pure, clean bread. 


This poem is in the public domain.


Richard Aldington

Richard Aldington was born in Hampshire, England, in 1892. An early member of the Imagist movement, he was the author of War and Love (1915-1919) (The Four Seas Company, 1919), Images (The Egoist, 1919), and numerous other books of poetry and prose.

Date Published: 2018-11-11

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