We climbed that hill,
The road flushed red in pride
At being beauty's boundary. Either side
Stretched beauty, beauty ever, beauty still.
For on the left
Rose sandhills bound together by the deft
Long fingers of sea-grass,
Humped like the Punch and Judy of a farce,
Comical, cleft
With gaps for wind to pass,
With dark
Clumped tea-tree, stark
With rushes, fierce with burrs,
With purple earth,
Stains, remnants, marks of birth
On too-exuberant beauty.
On the right
Long paddocks stooped under a cloudy sky.
'They're lovely paddocks. Look at them,' you said.
I turned my head.
What I'd thought gray
Was seen
To be the young beginning of live green
Under a spray
Of ghostly weed-stalks-lilacs, mauves and blues
At interplay-
A delicate tracery of shadow hues.
'There's colour,' I began
And straightway knew
I saw what you
Saw not, and yet your vision was not mine.
Your eyes were on the line
The sweep and curve of the fields against the sky.
You'd heard
My poor beginning of a word.
I had no more to praise
An unfamiliar loveliness. To gaze
Was all my praise.
At the hilltop it was your turn to say
'There's colour.' You had found
Silver and gold on my Tom Tiddler's ground.
At the roadside
A clump of grasses, all
Caught round a little bush and tangled, tied
With unimagined colours people call
Green when they see them. This was treasure spied
By your eyes with my soul.
You'd liked the whole
Broad sweep of things, had scarcely seen such small
Jewel incidents until
I showed you, who had never watched a hill
Remote in contemplation 'neath far, far skies,
Except with eyes
That had no mind to see
A present beauty, only what might be
If distance were annihilate.
And then,
Where the road crossed the creek we could not cross,
We found again
Our power of sight redoubled by the loss
Of what I'd planned.
You said it was no sense
To pull off shoes and fasten up a skirt
And plunge through dirt
And mud
And water, water
As zinnias and paint-water and a flood
Of heavy auburn hair. We'd better go
Round by the beach,
Not by the cliffs, to reach
That farthest cliff
I wanted to see tower
Above the waves in colour and in power,
More solid than the sky.
And so
We turned
Seaward among the sea-grass. I had learned
Some of your alien sense of beauty, line
Preferred to colour, distance to the near.
For it was I
Who saw
The lovely curve of the creek.
But the whole shore
Yellow, untrodden, (more
The loveliest thing of our whole lovely week
For subtle curve, unbroken surface, than
For colour) this wide shore
Was yours and mine
And yours and mine the foam
When it would shine
Flower-coloured in a glint of sun. But mine
The hurry
And swift scurry
Of wind-blown tea-tree up the cliff.
We gave
A double dower
Of beauty to each wave
That trailed its hair in the wind before it broke.
For all the power
Of alien philosophies awoke
Our power of sight.
You still proclaim the far
Eternal unity of things that are
Like Plato and the mountains. I prefer
Inchoate beauty, for my part aver
Plurality essential, am content
To find a gain in difference, in a while
Admit there's gain in union. Argument
Recurs. Oh well, at any rate we know
That walk was lovely;
Ecstasies of mind
And subtle mysteries of sight combined
With the dear love of friends to make it so.