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Poetry in English leaves of grass – archive, 16 May 1936


16 May 1936: In May the land is murmurous with the utterance of its own striving to richness

That compulsory investment, so well known to the British, a long wet winter pays its ocular dividend in May; if the skies had not been so grey the fields would not be so green. The floods were fertilisers, and where there lingered for weeks the dismal ooze of the swollen river there is now an added foison of green and gold, of grass and buttercups, richness and lushness, and Nature’s ungovernable bounty.

When Wordsworth’s Idiot Boy announced of grass that “you almost hear it growing” he was giving an accurate description of May in some soft corner of England. For fierceness of growth and thrusting plant we are accustomed to think of jungles far away; but the kind of native field which is squelchy in a dry winter or flooded in a wet one offers at this season an extraordinary example of lustihood in growth as well as of liveliness in colour.

We say of the oak “How grand of girth!”
Of the willow we say “How slender!”
And yet to the soft grass clothing the earth
How slight is the praise we render.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt…

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