Poem – John Ridland

Spring, 1940


This morning Mary Ursula Bethell saw
“Suddenly a weeping willow green,
Beside the mechanic street.” Meantime Frank Thomas,
Gear-changing effortlessly his fine machine,
Motored over the “grey, stone-heavy bridge”
To his garage – his garage – there to mend
Miss Bethell’s old old car, keep it alive
Through to the end of The War, another five
Years which would end her life.
Green Spring overtook her
At her request, she wondered what to do
With grief and settled for a “willow tree
Of tears”. Meanwhile, Frank Thomas’ ten-year-old
Daughter in golden plaits walked by the Heathcote
Under willow after willow after willow
To primary school, not “clothing expectant boughs
With amplitude” as yet. She would do that,
“Spirit of Beauty” had its eyes on her,
Intending she grow up to be a woman
Who’d carry across an ocean, in her dowry,
Collected Poems by Mary Ursula Bethell,
Sand-coloured cover over flower-blue cloth,
Printed in Christchurch (Caxton, 1950).


John Ridland


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