Rhapsody on Red Admirals
That March the cottage was alive with wings.
They yearned for the garden, fluttered on the panes.
“Cannot you see there are no leaves yet,
and rime whitens the twigs?
Stay in here where the convector heater
makes mimic Eden as the walls’ bogus blooms
shed velvety petals down till ankle high.
Let your tawny images float in her deep eyes
till we’ve forgotten autumnal storms must rage.
Only each busy heart, tapping the breast,
links us with time and travail, seasons, grief –
when your shrivelled husks shall litter dusty sills.”
from Collected Poems (Carcanet 1991), copyright Edgell Rickword 1991, by permission of Carcanet Press Ltd. Recordings used by permission of the BBC.