Ardlogie, Christmas Eve, 1939
-by Douglas Young (1913-1973)
The mild midwinter evening ebbs, leaving
wreckage of gold and purple on the hill.
The full round moon sails up from eastward, cleaving
dim veils of star-split cloud, tenuous and still.
Winter has jewels yet, leaf, flower, and berry,
berberis, holly, crab, and many more;
wych-hazels’ golden straps, a starry cherry,
primroses, heaths, a purple hellebore.
There’s a viburnum by the porch, some vagrant
botanist found in Western Yunnan.
It’s flowering now, exquisitely fragrant,
waxy white umbels, scent of marzipan.
Moon-white the naked beeches tower, wreathing
lichened limbs above the laurel glooms;
beyond the lawn a ground-air faintly breathing
stirs the white torches of the pampas plumes.
About me as I walk an odour lingers
of cypress logs I sawed; the pungent scent
clings in my tweeds, and when I raise my fingers
I get the resinous smell, and am content.
Cock-pheasants from the neighbouring pinewood chortle,
a blackbird whistles from the red-twigged lime.
There’s enough pleasure here for any mortal
with eyes, ears, nose, this mild midwinter-time.