To A Friend Who Sent Me A Box Of Violets

A poem by Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

Nay, more than violets
These thoughts of thine, friend!
Rather thy reedy brook--
Taw's tributary--
At midnight murmuring,
Descried them, the delicate
Dark-eyed goddesses,
There by his cressy bed
Dissolved and dreaming
Dreams that distilled into dew
All the purple of night,
All the shine of a planet.

Whereat he whispered;
And they arising--

Of day's forget-me-nots
The duskier sisters--
Descended, relinquished
The orchard, the trout-pool,
Torridge and Tamar,
The Druid circles,
Sheepfolds of Dartmoor,
Granite and sandstone;
By Roughtor, Dozmare,
Down the vale of the Fowey
Moving in silence,
Brushing the nightshade
By bridges cyclopean,
By Trevenna, Treverbyn,
Lawharne and Largin,
By Glynn, Lanhydrock,
Restormel, Lostwithiel,
Dark wood, dim water, dreaming town;
Down the vale of the Fowey
To the tidal water
Washing the feet
Of fair St Winnow--
Each, in her exile
Musing the message,
Passed, as the starlit
Shadow of Ruth from the land of the Moabite.

So they came,
Valley-born, valley-nurtured--
Came to the tideway
The jetties, the anchorage,
The salt wind piping,
Snoring in Equinox,
By ships at anchor,
By quays tormented,
Storm-bitten streets;
Came to the Haven
Crying, "Ah, shelter us,
The strayed ambassadors,
Love's lost legation
On a comfortless coast!"

Nay, but a little sleep,
A little folding
Of petals to the lull
Of quiet rainfalls--
Here in my garden,
In angle sheltered
From north and east wind--
Softly shall recreate
The courage of charity,
Henceforth not to me only
Breathing the message.

Clean-breath'd Sirens!
Hencefore the mariner.

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'To A Friend Who Sent Me A Box Of Violets' by Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy