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