Cut Flowers


Not in blue vases these
Nor white, cut flowers are seen
But in the August meadows
When the reaper falls clean —
And the shining and ridged rows
Of cut stalks show to the eye
As if some child’s hand there
Had ranged them, and passed by
To other rows, other swathes,
Moondaisies, pimpernel,
Eyebright, sorrel, the paths
Are shining, the heaps as well.
Violets in spring, are
In vases, a sweet heap
Better leave them by far
Under hedgerows or banks to keep.
Daffodills, wallflowers, Daisies
Of Michaelmas Time let still
Also, no gathering-crazes
Should spoil the sweet Spring-time’s will
Daisies best left alone,
Chrysanthemums of chill
Evenings of Autumn, gone
Soon to cold Winters will.
At the full garden-folk
Leave in their beds, but if
Under the steely yoke
They must be gathered, With
Cruelty of no need.
Then lay them in wide pans,
Or open jars; agreed
Best pottery that is man’s,
Wall-flowers, violets
Sweetest of flowers bring in
To the four walls, the china-sets
And table clean as a pin.
By books and pictures lay
These wild things cruelly tamed
Taken from the blowing day
Exiled, uprooted, hurt, lamed.
That the hedgerows miss and the copse —
O if flowers must be cut
To spoil an earth-plot’s hopes.
Take them with eyes shut.
Or give a small coin or two
To Children who may not care
So much as grown-ups should do —
Cut flowers in vases rare —
Pottery rounded with these
(Best of all) or with no care
Ranged in may-hap degrees
In wide pot or any jar —
Gather them, pluck not, please.
                                               Ivor Gurney (1890-1937) 

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