June

Original Text: 
The Complete Poems of Francis Ledwidge, intro. by Lord Dunsany (London: Herbert Kenkins, 1919): 63-64. British Library 011649.g.88
2And plant this bee-sucked bough of woodbine there,
3And let the window down. The butterfly
4Floats in upon the sunbeam, and the fair
5Tanned face of June, the nomad gipsy, laughs
6Above her widespread wares, the while she tells
7The farmers' fortunes in the fields, and quaffs
8The water from the spider-peopled wells.
9The hedges are all drowned in green grass seas,
11While siren-like the pollen-stainéd bees
12Drone in the clover depths. And up the height
13The cuckoo's voice is hoarse and broke with joy.
14And on the lowland crops the crows make raid,
17And loop this red rose in that hazel ring
18That snares your little ear, for June is short
19And we must joy in it and dance and sing,
20And from her bounty draw her rosy worth.
21Ay! soon the swallows will be flying south,
22The wind wheel north to gather in the snow,
23Even the roses spilt on youth's red mouth
24Will soon blow down the road all roses go.

Notes

1] fender: "metal frame placed in front of a fire to keep falling coals from rolling out into the room" (OED, "fender," n. 3.a.). Back to Line
10] Elmo's light: natural spherical light or corona fixed to the mast of a ship or another pointed object (here the poppies), named after St. Erasmus, that is, St. Elmo, patron saint of Mediterranean sailors (OED, "St. Elmo"). Back to Line
15] clappers: handheld rattles shaken to scare away birds. Back to Line
16] Biblical Noah, after the great Flood, discovered wine and fell into a naked, drunken sleep in which his sons found him. One of them, Ham, laughed at Noah exposed, but the other two, Shem and Japheth, covered him decorously with a loin cloth. This is the subject of a painting by Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1500-15) at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Besançon, France. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1919
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2003
Rhyme: 
Form: