Diary of the Plague Year: Day 57 11 May 2020: Quotidian Poetry: Keith Douglas (1920-1944)

STRANGE GARDENER
 
Over the meadows
framed in the quiet osiers, dreams the pond
region of summer gnat-busyness
and in the afternoon’s blue drowsiness
plops among the water shadows
and the cool trees wait beyond.
 
A young man lived there
with a swift, sad face, and full of phantasy
repeating as he heard it
the alliterative speech of the water spirit
smoothing his pale hair
with automatic ecstasy.
 
This was his garden
Uncultivated (order hated him)
whence (in a winter madness
whose scourge drove him to recklessness)
seeing the frost harden
the water spirit translated him.

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