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Lay for the Day
23rd June

Midsummer Night’s Eve, 24th June being the old pagan festival of midsummer.


The Smell of Thyme

The smell of thyme, fresh thyme,
subtle and earthy,
opens a landscape of white
dry limestone to the spirit,
a wide, high-lit plateau
from a narrow herb, winding and low.

Dark green above and dusty underneath,
the tiny spear-point leaves,
the reddish stalks, though slight,
breathe unstintingly
odours of courage and hope,
glinting in the mind’s eye.

Unlike the enrapturing rose
whose scent whelms us back,
as when we begin to embrace,
to beginnings the heart almost knows
how to retrace, the smell of thyme
speaks of the future.

Each leaf-pair is a door
opened on a setting
where companion goes with companion freely,
not in the flowers’ plangent fragrance
but new love, earthy and subtle,
in the smell of thyme, fresh thyme.


John Gibbens
from The Smell of Thyme


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

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