This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Saturday Rave: I made another garden by Arthur O'Shaughnessy

Arthur O'Shaughnessy, 1844 - 1881, was, despite his name, an English poet (though of course he came from an Irish family).

He isn't the only literary man of Irish family to make a splash in England (Wilde and Swift come to mind); he isn't the only poet to have died young (Keats, Sidney); he isn't the only writer to have had a family life full of tragedy (Emily Bronte, Kafka); and he isn't the only poet to have had work set to music by a genius (Blake, Goethe).

But Arthur O'Shaughnessy is surely the only poet to have had four species of lizard named after him. 

(His day job was at the British Museum).

O'Shaughnessy wrote some excellent stuff. His most famous poem was We are the Music Makers (it was been set to music by, among others, Elgar and Kodály) but here's I made another garden.

I made another garden, yea,
For my new love;
I left the dead rose where it lay,
And set the new above.
Why did the summer not begin?
Why did my heart not haste?
My old love came and walked therein
And laid the garden waste.

She entered with her weary smile
Just as of old;
She looked around a little while,
And shivered at the cold.
Her passing touch was death to all,
Her passing look a blight:
She made the white rose-petals fall,
And turned the red ones white. 

Her pale robe, clinging to the grass
Seemed like a snake
That bit the grass and ground, alas!
And a sad trail did make.
She went up slowly to the gate;
And here, just as of yore,
She turned back at the last to wait,
And say goodbye once more.

Calumma oshaughnessyi.jpg
O'Shaughnessy's chameleon, Calumma oshaughnessy Photo by Torsten Kunsch

Word To Use Today: snake. This word was snaca in Old English. It's related to the Old High German snahhan, to crawl, and the Norwegian snōk, which means snail.

No comments:

Post a comment