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  • Dougie

Sometimes work must wait

We've had loads of rain (but nothing like our flooded fellow Australians) and then some sun. Then nature did its thing in Spike Deane 's Canberra garden.

I don't even like roses, if I think about them, but they were here when we bought the house. It would have been churlish to rip out the bush because of this not-gardener's horticultural ambivalence. And look how nature pays me back.

It's not always Tennyson's "red in tooth and claw".

Spike Deane 's garden is a gentler, quieter place in which an old man need do no more than sit still, be at peace and shut the fuck up.

From 'In Memoriam A. H. H.' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1850)


'So careful of the type?' but no.

From scarped cliff and quarried stone

She cries, 'A thousand types are gone:

I care for nothing, all shall go.

'Thou makest thine appeal to me:

I bring to life, I bring to death:

The spirit does but mean the breath:

I know no more.' And he, shall he,

Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair,

Such splendid purpose in his eyes,

Who roll'd the psalm to wintry skies,

Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,

Who trusted God was love indeed

And love Creation's final law-

Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw

With ravine, shriek'd against his creed-

Who loved, who suffer'd countless ills,

Who battled for the True, the Just,

Be blown about the desert dust,

Or seal'd within the iron hills?

No more? A monster then, a dream,

A discord. Dragons of the prime,

That tare each other in their slime,

Were mellow music match'd with him.

O life as futile, then, as frail!

O for thy voice to soothe and bless!

What hope of answer, or redress?

Behind the veil, behind the veil.

(Not his cheeriest poem. But the clue is in the title, I suppose.)

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