Helen Duncan’s poems of nature
As estranged from nature as we’ve become, I find you can’t help but become enraptured by spring. I’ve picked two poems penned by my great grandmother who loved to write about nature. One is about springtime and the other is about Dartmoor, a rugged moorland in Devon.
Odes on Springtime
When winds have ceased to blow across the sea
When buds appear upon the leafless tree
When rooks do build, to birds new love songs sing
All nature wakes to greet the spring.
The tiny snowdrops clad in purest white
Drop their heads and disappear from sight
The crocus purple, golden hue
Have come to say, life starts anew.
Small white daisies deck the fields around
The yellow daffodils in wood abound
And pale primroses strew the glade
Where modest violets nestle in the shade.
The lark is singing as he wings on high
The sparkling rain drops fall from April skies
And caught by sunbeams where they nest
Bedecked with jewels fair nature’s newest dress,
The bluebells wave amid the grass
Their royal banners where you pass
And from a motley feathered throng
Bursts forth an ever rising song,
It fills the air with joyous sound
And echoes in the skies around
And through the vale and over the plain
So heard the same sweet glad reframe.
Though ages old, and yet tis ever new
It bursts a song of hope, for me and you
And in our hearts of Psalms we sing
Of thanks to God, for wondrous spring.
Farnborough April 1935
O vast and rugged moorland what could wish for more?
Your ever changing range of hills and mighty rocky tors
While overhead the fluffy clouds, glide like a mighty throng
A feast is spread before the eyes, the heart is filled with song.
There’s music in your waterfalls and ever restless streams
And on your rock strewn rivers, the rays of sunlight gleams
And in the lovely valleys and in the wooded dells
They say that there the Pixies, still weave their magic spells
And if you climb the hillside and scale the mighty tors
It seems the breath of Heaven has yawned the heath clad moors
Where all is hushed, the world is still, no sound comes to the ear
You feel your heart with joy uplift and know that God is near.
H.E Duncan 1936