1 August, Relics XXIII: An Unmarked Festival

hazel leaves, Crundale, Kent 21.6.20

Alice Meynell regrets having not one relic of its flowers or leaves – ‘it’ being the day she met her Wilfred. These red hazel leaves are a reminder of a walk taken by Mrs T and I a few weeks ago. 1 August today, I hope the weather is good to you this holiday month. May you receive graces ‘Unknown then, but known at last’.

There’s a feast undated yet:
   Both our true lives hold it fast,—
The first day we ever met.
   What a great day came and passed!
   —Unknown then, but known at last.

And we met: You knew not me,
   Mistress of your joys and fears;
Held my hands that held the key
   Of the treasure of your years,
   Of the fountain of your tears.

For you knew not it was I,
    And I knew not it was you.
We have learnt, as days went by.
    But a flower struck root and grew
    Underground, and no one knew.

Days of days!  Unmarked it rose,
   In whose hours we were to meet;
And forgotten passed.  Who knows,
   Was earth cold or sunny, Sweet,
   At the coming of your feet?

One mere day, we thought; the measure
   Of such days the year fulfils.
Now, how dearly would we treasure
   Something from its fields, its rills,
   And its memorable hills;

—But one leaf of oak or lime,
    Or one blossom from its bowers
No one gathered at the time.
    Oh, to keep that day of ours
   By one relic of its flowers!

From 'Poems' by Alice Meynell.





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