Daisy

Where the thistle lifts a purple crown
Six foot out of the turf
And the harebell shakes on the windy hill 
O breath of the distant surf!

The hills look over on the South 
And southward dreams the sea
And with the sea-breeze hand in hand 
Came innocence and she.

Where ‘mid the gorse the raspberry
Red for the gatherer springs
Two children did we stray and talk
Wise, idle, childish things.

She listened with big-lipped surprise 
Breast-deep ‘mid flower and spine
Her skin was like a grape whose veins
Run snow instead of wine.

She knew not those sweet words she spake
Nor knew her own sweet way
But there’s never a bird, so sweet a song
Thronged in whose throat all day.

Oh, there were flowers in Storrington
On the turf and on the spray 
But the sweetest flower on Sussex hills
Was the Daisy-flower that day!

Her beauty smoothed earth’s furrowed face.
She gave me tokens three
A look, a word of her winsome mouth 
And a wild raspberry.

A berry red, a guileless look
A still word, strings of sand 
And yet they made my wild, wild heart
Fly down to her little hand.

For standing artless as the air 
And candid as the skies
She took the berries with her hand 
And the love with her sweet eyes.

The fairest things have fleetest end 
Their scent survives their close
But the rose’s scent is bitterness
To him that loved the rose.

She looked a little wistfully
Then went her sunshine way 
The sea’s eye had a mist on it 
And the leaves fell from the day.

She went her unremembering way 
She went and left in me
The pang of all he partings gone
And partings yet to be.

She left me marvelling why my soul
Was sad that she was glad
At all the sadness in the sweet 
The sweetness in the sad.

Still, still I seemed to see her, still
Look up with soft replies
And take the berries with her hand 
And the love with her lovely eyes.

Nothing begins, and nothing ends
That is not paid with moan
For we are born in other’s pain 
And perish in our own.

By Francis Thompson

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