These I have Loved

Today I received this excerpt from a Rupert Brooke poem in the mail from my friend Stella.

Rupert Brooke

What a lovely thing it is to receive a poem in the mail! There should be  more of it. I think I am going to start doing it.
Stella told me about the poem on the weekend. The phrase that rung out for her, the thing that Brooke cited as a thing he loved, was "The benison of hot water." I loved the sound of it, but I only had half an idea of what a "benison" was. Turns out it's a blessing.
I was struck by the image of "last year's ferns" - a smell I can almost summon perfectly.
I must read Brooke again.
Here is the excerpt - a beautifully wistful piece of poetic memoir:

These I have loved:

White plates and cups, clean-gleaming,

Ringed with blue lines; and feathery, faery dust;

Wet roofs, beneath the lamp-light; the strong crust

Of friendly bread; and many tasting food;

Rainbows; and the blue bitter smoke of wood;

And radiant raindrops couching in cool flowers;

And flowers themselves, that sway through sunny hours,

Dreaming of moths that drink them under the moon;

Then, the cool kindliness of sheets, that soon

Smooth away trouble; and the male kiss

Of blankets; grainy wood; live hair that is

Shining and free; blue massing clouds; the keen

Unpassioned beauty of a great machine;

The benison of hot water; furs to touch;

The good smell of old clothes; and other such—

The comfortable smell of friendly fingers,

Hair’s fragrance, and the must reek that lingers

About dead leaves and last year’s ferns…

   ~ Rupert Brooke


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