The day is fresh-washed and fair, and there is
a smell of tulips and narcissus
in the air.
The sunshine pours in at the bath-room window and
bores through the water
in the bath-tub in lathes and planes of greenish-white. It
cleaves the water
into flaws like a jewel, and cracks it to bright light.
Little spots of sunshine lie on the surface of
the water and dance, dance,
and their reflections wobble deliciously over the ceiling; a stir
of my finger
sets them whirring, reeling. I move a foot, and the planes
in the water jar. I lie back and laugh, and let the green-white
the sun-flawed beryl water, flow over me. The day is
too bright to bear, the green water covers me from the too bright
I will lie here awhile and play with the water and the sun spots.
The sky is blue and high. A crow flaps
by the window, and there is
a whiff of tulips and narcissus in the air.
In the fresh-washed sunlight, the breakfast table
is decked and white.
It offers itself in flat surrender, tendering tastes, and smells,
and colours, and metals, and grains, and the white cloth falls over
draped and wide. Wheels of white glitter in the silver
hot and spinning like catherine-wheels, they whirl, and twirl —
and my eyes
begin to smart, the little white, dazzling wheels prick them like
Placid and peaceful, the rolls of bread spread themselves in the
sun to bask.
A stack of butter-pats, pyramidal, shout orange through the white,
flutter, call: “Yellow! Yellow! Yellow!” Coffee
steam rises in a stream,
clouds the silver tea-service with mist, and twists up into the
revolved, involuted, suspiring higher and higher, fluting in a thin
up the high blue sky. A crow flies by and croaks at the
The day is new and fair with good smells in the air.
Over the street the white clouds meet, and sheer
away without touching.
On the sidewalks, boys are playing marbles. Glass
with amber and blue hearts, roll together and part with a sweet
clashing noise. The boys strike them with black and red
The glass marbles spit crimson when they are hit, and slip into
under rushing brown water. I smell tulips and narcissus
in the air,
but there are no flowers anywhere, only white dust whipping up the
and a girl with a gay Spring hat and blowing skirts. The
dust and the wind
flirt at her ankles and her neat, high-heeled patent leather shoes. Tap,
the little heels pat the pavement, and the wind rustles among the
on her hat.
A water-cart crawls slowly on the other side of
the way. It is green and gay
with new paint, and rumbles contentedly, sprinkling clear water
the white dust. Clear zigzagging water, which smells
of tulips and narcissus.
The thickening branches make a pink `grisaille’
against the blue sky.
Whoop! The clouds go dashing at each
other and sheer away just in time.
Whoop! And a man’s hat careers down the street in front
of the white dust,
leaps into the branches of a tree, veers away and trundles ahead
of the wind,
jarring the sunlight into spokes of rose-colour and green.
A motor-car cuts a swathe through the bright air,
shouting to the wind to make way. A glare of dust and
tosses together behind it, and settles down. The sky
is quiet and high,
and the morning is fair with fresh-washed air.
Midday and Afternoon
Swirl of crowded streets. Shock and
recoil of traffic. The stock-still
brick facade of an old church, against which the waves of people
lurch and withdraw. Flare of sunshine down side-streets. Eddies
in the windows of chemists’ shops, with their blue, gold, purple
darting colours far into the crowd. Loud bangs and tremors,
murmurings out of high windows, whirring of machine belts,
blurring of horses and motors. A quick spin and shudder
on an electric car, and the jar of a church-bell knocking against
the metal blue of the sky. I am a piece of the town,
a bit of blown dust,
thrust along with the crowd. Proud to feel the pavement
reeling with feet. Feet tripping, skipping, lagging,
plodding doggedly, or springing up and advancing on firm elastic
A boy is selling papers, I smell them clean and new from the press.
They are fresh like the air, and pungent as tulips and narcissus.
The blue sky pales to lemon, and great tongues
of gold blind the shop-windows,
putting out their contents in a flood of flame.
Night and Sleep
The day takes her ease in slippered yellow. Electric
signs gleam out
along the shop fronts, following each other. They grow,
and blow into patterns of fire-flowers as the sky fades. Trades
in spots of light at the unruffled night. Twinkle, jab,
snap, that means
a new play; and over the way: plop, drop, quiver, is
sliver of a watchmaker’s sign with its length on another street.
A gigantic mug of beer effervesces to the atmosphere over a tall
but the sky is high and has her own stars, why should she heed ours?
I leave the city with speed. Wheels
whirl to take me back to my trees
and my quietness. The breeze which blows with me is fresh-washed
it has come but recently from the high sky. There are
in bloom yet, but the earth of my garden smells of tulips and narcissus.
My room is tranquil and friendly. Out
of the window I can see
the distant city, a band of twinkling gems, little flower-heads
with no stems.
I cannot see the beer-glass, nor the letters of the restaurants
I passed, now the signs blur and all together make the city,
glowing on a night of fine weather, like a garden stirring and blowing
for the Spring.
The night is fresh-washed and fair and there is
a whiff of flowers in the air.
Wrap me close, sheets of lavender. Pour
your blue and purple dreams
into my ears. The breeze whispers at the shutters and
queer tales of old days, and cobbled streets, and youths leaping
down marble stairways. Pale blue lavender, you are the
colour of the sky
when it is fresh-washed and fair . . . I smell the stars . . . they
tulips and narcissus . . . I smell them in the air.