Easter Leave

Hyde Park, the wood-wind music of a new dawn.

first mellow Blackbird's whistle

heralding the holiday.

Over London roll on the grey clouds.


Earthly fountains, poised and delicate,

Grace naked stone with breeze-blown dew.

Goddesses beside their high cupped shells

sluice christal liquid from their handled flasks


and magic mists like drifting spiders' webs

slant our faces, cleanse tobaccoed throats

and ease the night's restriction in the chest.

A shower joins the fountain in a falling ecstasy.


The wrinkling Serpentine and merry waterfowl,

the daffodils that leap on lawns

the running squirrels and tossing narcissi -

Peter Pan with grace blows lightly on a fairy pipe.


Here may I find the representative moment

water and stone play ludo with the sun,

with visionary gleam the magics come

the desert streams rejoice with sudden flowers.


French boy in Westminster, met by accident,

shares with me the humorous moment

The abbey cluttered with scaffolding bars-

"Le pauvre palais! - the throaty chuckle.


This building "magnifique",

not "pleasant", "nice" or "fine"-

and richer yet the foreign wine's

delight and sudden visionary ray


These pipes and timber struts

these football stands along the streets

purple painted standards and new corrugated 'lats'

London, like a corsetted bride, prepares well the event.


From dust of hutted camps, the heavy guns and Brens,

there grows this brighter moment.

The wave spun stone glows brighter

for the deep sea's touch.


Yet must I look beyond this mild oasis,

the breeze's whisper and the chatter of flags.

Our pennants will fly in other places

an eastern land our foothold.


April 1953 before leaving for Hong Kong during the Korean war.