Patrick Kavanagh

BLUEBELLS FOR LOVE

There will be bluebells growing under the big trees
And you will be there and I will be there in May;
For some other reason we both will have to delay
The evening in Dunshaughlin — to please
Some imagined relation,
So both of us came to walk through that plantation.

We will be interested in the grass,
In an old bucket-hoop, in the ivy that weaves
Green incongruity among dead leaves,
We will put on surprise at carts that pass —
Only sometimes looking sideways at the bluebells in the plantation
And never frighten them with too wild an exclamation.

We will be wise, we will not let them guess
That we are watching them or they will pose
A mere facade like boys
Caught out in virtue’s naturalness.
We will not impose on the bluebells in that plantation
Too much of our desire’s adulation.

We will have other loves — or so they’ll think;
The primroses or the ferns or the briars,
Or even the rusty paling wires,
Or the violets on the sunless sorrel bank,
Only as an aside the bluebells in the plantation
Will mean a thing to our dark contemplation.

We’ll know love little by little, glance by glance.
Ah, the clay under these roots is so brown!
We’ll steal from Heaven while God is in the town —
I caught an angel smiling in a chance
Look through the tree-trunks of the plantation
As you and I walked slowly to the station.

— Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967)

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