Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Fig, an Olive, and a Bay.

What my backyard garden and the cottage of New Zealand's poet Mary Ursula Bethell have in common? A Fig, an Olive, and a Bay!
Bethell is inextricably linked to the garden she tended at Rise Cottage, Its careful cultivation lovingly recorded in this first volume of poems She settled on the hills above Christchurch, where her cottage in Cashmere became the setting for her best-known poems. These first appeared (under the pseudonym Evelyn Hayes) in From a garden in the antipodes (1929).
Where ‘A Bush Section’ is sprawling and inclusive, Bethell’s poems ‘Detail’ begins,
"My garage is a structure of excessive plainness,
It springs from a dry bank in the back garden,
It is made of corrugated iron,
And painted all over with brick-red.
And beside it I have planted a green Bay-tree,
– A sweet Bay, an Olive, and a Turkey Fig,

A Fig, an Olive, and a Bay".

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